The end of this week will mark the start of a new generation for The Witte Museum when the modernized campus opens to the public Saturday.
Gone are the days of a dimly lit foyer — the 90-year-old Witte Museum now welcomes guests with The H-E-B Lantern, a "glowing," 28-foot glass cube which houses a Quetzalcoatlus dinosaur replica.
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Museum staff noted the previous Triceratops replica was a hit with visitors and they are excited to expand the collection in the Valero Great Hall with a Tyrannosaurus rex, Acrocanthosaurus and Mozasaurus, which will swim in an "ancient sea."
"This magnificent creature, the new Witte, is robust and substantial enough for people to want to invest in its next 100 years," Witte CEO and President Marise McDermott said, according to San Antonio Express-News archives.
With the completion of the nearly $100 million project now official, McDermott said her goal is to raise another $100 million by the museum's 100th birthday in 2026.
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President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums Laura Lott told the Express-News the Witte's makeover isn't something that happens every day.
"It happens pretty rarely, this kind of extension renovation. You guys are lucky."
Even longtime residents, like chairman of the Witte Board of Trustees' Facilities Committee Walter Embry, are fascinated by the transformation.
READ MORE: How architects and designers transformed The Witte into something incredible
"People will be blown away when they come in here," Embrey told the San Antonio Express-News. "People who have grown up with an image of the old Witte are not going to believe what's going on here."
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