Centennial Museum Reopens with New Exhibit, New Look

Last Updated on October 6, 2016 at 8:15 am

WEBnancyWhat: Centennial Museum reopening and opening of the exhibit “The Notebook of Nancy Lea”

When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016

Where: Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, UTEP campus


EL PASO, Texas – The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens on The University of Texas at El Paso campus will reopen to the public Oct. 11, 2016. The museum had been closed for repairs following a water pipe break that caused extensive damage.

Along with the re-opening, the museum will also present the new exhibit, “The Notebook of Nancy Lea” in conjunction with the Tom Lea Institute in honor of Tom Lea Month.

The opening reception of “The Notebook of Nancy Lea” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Many people know about the artist Tom Lea. Few, however, know of Nancy Lea, Tom’s first wife who died at a young age. Nancy was an aspiring writer with a strong point of view. Though none of her works were ever published, her writings continue to tell her story more than 80 years after her death. “The Notebook of Nancy Lea” is Nancy’s story in her own words. The exhibit includes excerpts from Nancy’s journal as well as stunning photographs of Nancy and Tom.

The exhibit, which will be on display through Dec. 22, is partially funded by a Humanities Texas grant.

In addition to the opening, the museum also will present a talk by Adair Margo, founder and president of the Tom Lea Institute, titled “Nancy Lea: In Her Own Words” at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.

All events are free and open to the public.

Samantha Winer, curator of collections and exhibitions, worked closely with Nancy Lea’s journal to curate the exhibit and said she developed a deep respect and admiration for Nancy Lea.

“It has been fascinating to enter the thoughts of a woman who dismissed early 20th century stereotypes,” Winer said. “Furthermore, what is exhilarating about this exhibit is that in her writings, Nancy experienced a wide a range of emotions from happiness to sorrow, anger to love. It reminds us, no matter the year, that we are human.”

Audiences will also see the improvements to the museum, which include beautiful new floors and an elegant new color scheme. The museum’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.




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