Vacations & Travel - - Contents - BY DAVID MCGONIGAL

From mu­se­ums to gal­leries and beyond, the twin cities of Dallas and Fort Worth have a lot to of­fer.

“Ev­ery­thing is big­ger in Texas, from peo­ple’s hair to their pick-up trucks,” says our tour guide. I’m stand­ing between the gi­ant let­ters 'B' and ' G' in­stalled around big, bold Dallas and so I be­lieve it. But there’s one tiny ob­ject in the Lone Star State that changed the world and I found it in a sim­ple mu­seum case so non­de­script I nearly missed it. It seems

Tex­ans don’t shout as loudly about their im­pres­sive tech­no­log­i­cal cre­den­tials, with so many of them de­ployed to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence of its visi­tors.

The very first in­te­grated cir­cuit sits along­side one of the very first tran­sis­tors dat­ing back to 1954. With­out these two lit­tle blobs of wire and plas­tic there would be no com­put­ers and no In­ter­net.

The dis­play is in the Perot Mu­seum of Na­ture and Sci­ence, which boasts one-time Pres­i­den­tial aspirant Ross Perot as its ma­jor donor. Perot left IBM in 1962 to de­velop Elec­tronic Data Sys­tems in Dallas and later in­vested in Steve Job’s NeXT pro­ject. Not sur­pris­ingly, the mu­seum shows what can be done with lots of money to in­vest in technology to en­hance the vis­i­tor’s ex­pe­ri­ence. You can have your sport­ing move­ments such as your base­ball pitch an­a­lysed against the greats to see how to im­prove. Most fas­ci­nat­ing is a chal­leng­ing ter­mi­nal where you try di­rect­ing your thoughts to re­motely fire ping-pong balls, prov­ing mind con­trol does work.

The mu­seum’s di­nosaur floor is spec­tac­u­lar, not just for the menagerie of gi­ant crea­tures but be­cause real bones have been merged with 3D printed ones to great ef­fect.

The Perot Mu­seum goes against the boot-scoot­ing un­so­phis­ti­cated cowboy im­age of Texas. The de­light for visi­tors is that both as­pects ex­ist in har­mony. The very next day af­ter vis­it­ing the mu­seum we were danc­ing at Billy Bob’s Texas in the Fort Worth Stock­yards’ district– the ‘World’s Largest Honky Tonk’. It is so large there’s a live in­door bull-rid­ing arena, sev­eral bars, a con­cert area and dance floor. We also vis­ited the Kim­bell Art Mu­seum where we saw Michelan­gelo’s first paint­ing and wan­dered among works by Car­avag­gio, El Greco, Gau­guin, Monet, Pi­casso, Rembrandt and Rubens with no crowds and no bar­ri­ers.

The Kim­bell Mu­seum build­ings them­selves are won­der­ful. In­deed, the orig­i­nal 1972 build­ing de­signed by ar­chi­tect Louis Kahn is so in­spired that it makes the new Renzo Pi­ano-de­signed build­ing ap­pear rel­a­tively or­di­nary. Both are pre­sen­ta­tion spa­ces done ex­ceed­ingly well.

The Dallas Mu­seum of Art is one of the largest in the United States, and it has an ex­cel­lent app that al­lows you to lo­cate art­works of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to you.

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