Eye of the Collector exhibition at Perot Museum showcases spectacular and rare collections – some never before seen in public – from cultural gems and pop-culture curiosities to historic artifacts and one-of-a-kind pieces

PEZ dispensers, Dallas Cowboys memorabilia, Star Wars mementos, Ballet Folklórico costumes, African-American dolls, wearable works of art, plus fascinating relics from Nancy and Randy Best in Perot Museum’s first full-scale, self-curated exhibition opening April 16

Where else can one find PEZ dispensers, African-American dolls, the world’s largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia, Dallas Cowboys fan gear, wearable art made of unusual materials and Ballet Folklórico costumes, along with early hominid and paleontological specimens, pre-Columbian artifacts and weapons, magnificent minerals and more all in one place? The Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents its first full-scale, self-curated exhibition called Eye of the Collector –offering everything from historical and valuable items to quirky, crafty and pop-culture pieces – from April 16 - Sept. 5, 2016 (member preview days on April 14-15). Presented by Highland Capital Management, the exhibition invites visitors to explore the reasons why people and museums collect – ranging from curiosity, connection and the thrill of the hunt, to nostalgia and creating a legacy. Eye of the Collector is free for members and requires a surcharge for non-members. See ticket prices at end of release.

At the Perot Museum, every object and specimen within its numerous permanent collections tells a unique story. That’s the motivation behind Eye of the Collector, which brings together the amazing personal collections of very different people. Every object becomes a portal that transports one to a distinct time in history. Not only will visitors marvel at the items themselves, they’ll get a glimpse into the minds of the collectors and find out what inspired them to see the magic in objects ranging from everyday utensils to rare treasures.

At the heart of this exclusive exhibition are signature pieces from Nancy and Randy Best, whose extensive collections take visitors on journeys through time – from paleontological specimens, early hominids, and pre-Columbian artifacts and weapons, to exotic Sumerian tablets and spectacular minerals extracted from the earth.

“It’s important to understand that collections are why museums exist in the first place. We wouldn’t be here without them,” said Colleen Walker, Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer of the Perot Museum. “There’s a beautiful intersection of art, science and even fun that happens in the Eye of the Collector exhibition and we believe visitors will respond emotionally and perhaps even be inspired to start their own special collection.”

The star-studded collectors are as follows:

  • Nancy and Randy Best, longtime collectors whose kinship and curiosity with history has cultivated a vast array of rarely seen historical artifacts and portals into the past. This “Best of the Bests” representation will feature a diverse collection of art, fossils and ancient artifacts spanning thousands of years.
  • Steve Sansweet, whose collection of Star Wars mementos is so vast that it’s recorded as a Guinness World Record.
  • Bob Bragalone, an avid Dallas Cowboys fan with one of the largest-ever assortments of team memorabilia dating back to the days of Coach Tom Landry. (He has his fedora!)
  • Anita Martinez, a beloved Dallas civic leader and dance company founder with a love for the lushly colored Ballet Folklórico costumes.
  • Debbie Garrett, an author/historian with an affinity for African-American and black dolls.
  • Carla Eames Hartman, a passionate gatherer of the charming PEZ candy dispensers that were founded 83 years ago in Austria.
  • Deedie Rose, a Dallas arts patron and philanthropist who has amassed an array of unique, wearable works of art comprised of materials not commonly found in jewelry – such as shopping bags, earth and egg cartons.
  • Ron Gard, an aficionado of antique duck decoys that are so intricate they are considered folk art.
  • Scott McCaskey, a keeper of hundreds of unique, vintage bicycles dating from the 1800s to the 1960s.

“The collections that make up Eye of the Collector are so unique and diverse with many objects that have never before been seen in public,” said Thomas Surgent, Partner and Chief Compliance Officer for presenting sponsor Highland Capital Management. “We are fascinated by the motivations of these collectors – from the genuine curiosity to the thrill of the quest for a prime relic.”

For the final collector, the Perot Museum summoned the public earlier this year to submit their precious possessions for a chance to be part of Eye of the Collector. After entries poured in, a stellar group of judges selected finalists in each of the three categories including “Best Youth” (17 and under), “Most Unique” and “Most Visually Stunning.” The public voted and selected the “People’s Choice” contest winner – whose name and collection will be revealed when the exhibition opens to members April 14. In addition, the three finalists’ collections representing the key categories will be displayed.

It’s not too late to be part of the exhibition! New submissions will be added daily as part of a digital collections display within Eye of the Collector. The public may submit collections through Sept. 4, 2016, at

PROGRAM EXTENSIONS. A plethora of programs and themed events will tie in to Eye of the Collector, including First Thursday Late Night: Collecting on May 5, the family-fun Discovery Days: Inventions on June 11, and the adults-only Social Science: Curiosities on June 24 and Social Science: Material on August 5.

HOURS. General hours of operation for the Perot Museum are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. On the first Thursday of the month, the Museum will stay open until 9 p.m. for its First Thursday Late Night public events. The Museum closes daily at 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Member mornings. From 8:30-10 a.m. every Saturday and 10 a.m.-noon every Sunday, members can enjoy exclusive access to the Perot Museum and Eye of the Collector. 

TICKETS. Museum general admission ticket prices are $19 for adults (18-64), $12 for youth (2-17), $13 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2. Museum general admission is always free for members. Admission to the theater is $6 for a short film (20 minutes) and $8 for a long film (40 minutes) for adults, seniors and youth. For members, admission to the theater is $5 (short film) and $6 (long film). All children under 2 are free.

Eye of the Collector is free for members. Non-members pay a surcharge along with purchase of Museum general admission for a total admission cost of $24 for adults (18-64), $15 for youth (2-17), $18 for seniors (65+), and free for children under 2.

Skip the ticket sales line! Visitors, including members, are strongly encouraged to purchase/reserve tickets directly from their smart phones or computers in advance.

The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field Street in Dallas, Texas. For parking information and other details, visit
perotmuseum.orgor call 214-428-5555.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is in no way affiliated with, authorized or endorsed by Lucasfilm Ltd., Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Ltd, or PEZ Candy Inc. The trademarks displayed herein are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.