WITTE MUSEUM

Where Nature, Science and Culture Meet

San Antonio, TX   |  www.wittemuseum.org

Mission

The Witte Museum inspires people to shape the future of Texas through transformative and relevant experiences in nature, science and culture.

Ruling year info

1932

President and CEO

Ms. Marise McDermott

Main address

3801 Broadway

San Antonio, TX 78209 USA

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EIN

74-1400537

NTEE code info

Natural History, Natural Science Museums (A56)

History Museums (A54)

Science & Technology Museum (A57)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Witte Museum is a bold, cultural leader shaping the future of Texas through education and powerful partnerships that transform San Antonio into the city of the future where all people have the opportunity to create an extraordinary life. Founded in 1926 and completing a $100 million campus transformation in 2017, the Witte is San Antonio’s first and most-widely visited public museum, a thriving cultural hub empowering visitors to discover nature, science and culture through immersive experiences in galleries, labs and riverside habitats. The Witte’s focus on Texas Deep Time immerses all ages in millions of years through dinosaurs that lived in what is now Texas; thousands of years through indigenous people living off the land, water and sky; hundreds of years through Texas’ legendary history, with an eye on today and the future. The Witte is committed to supporting the changing cultural and educational needs of the community and is devoted to ensuring equitable access for all.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Education Programs: Natural History, Science, South Texas Heritage

The Witte Museum provides educational and cultural opportunities for a diverse audience, and works to meaningfully connect its programs to broad community interests and concerns, thereby generating important civic dialogue. Working in partnership with school educators, parents, and administrators throughout South Texas, the Witte develops curriculum and engaging exhibits, multimedia and educational programs on state-of-the-art science, historical legacy, and environmental ecology. Teachers ask for interactive science programs that help children internalize the complex principles of “thrust and lift” as foundation for aeronautics; they ask for engaging history programs to provide children with a “sense of place”; and they seek relevant programs on water conservation and the understanding of rivers and aquifers.

The 2011 Nation’s Report Card in Science notes that a third of Texas 8th graders are ranked Below Basic in science; worse, the same report found 52% of Texas Hispanic 8th graders are ranked Below Basic. Hispanic students represent the majority of San Antonio's students and those served by the WItte. The Witte’s highlighted emphasis on science and history literacy is a direct response to this stated need in the community. Enhancing school curriculum through engaging museum programs is especially important in South and Central Texas, a rapidly growing area whose dynamic future depends on a science- and humanities-literate population.

Area educators overwhelmingly report that the Witte Museum’s workshops and programs allow for hands-on, multi-sensory learning in a setting that is fun-filled and conducive to learning. For these reasons, the Witte is compelled to develop and offer educational programming that is aligned with Texas Essential Skills and Knowledge (TEKS) to students from throughout the region. As an active partner with educators, administrators, and parents, the Witte regularly assesses its educational programs to ensure that all our programs are relevant, engaging, and meet TEKS standards. The Witte Museum not only develops ever-expanding Science, Texas History, and Water Resource curriculum-based materials, but also identifies the underwriting to distribute those materials, ensuring that teachers receive gallery guides, as well as pre- and post-visit materials. The Witte is also dedicated to providing scholarship support to all Title 1 schools so that no school is turned away due to funding, and beginning in 2012, the Witte embarked on the Every Fourth Grader Initiative to enable every fourth grade class to come to the Witte to experience their classroom learning in the South Texas Heritage Center. More than 55,000 fourth grade students have come to the Witte for free as a result of that Initiative. We believe that engaged encounters in specialized scientific knowledge, historical artifacts and information, and ethical and responsible water resource knowledge is key to a well-informed, actively engaged citizenry.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

American Association of Museums 1974

American Association of Museums 2019

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2013

Smithsonian Museum - Affiliate 2014

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of free participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of paid participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Students from schools representing 100% of San Antonio area school districts visit the Witte Museum each year.

Total number of free admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Witte is proud to be an educational resource for San Antonio schools, families, and individuals by offering blockbuster exhibitions, dynamic programming, and opportunities for families to learn, grow, and play together in an affirming and welcoming environment. Only at the Witte Museum can school children hold the weight of an oxen yoke, convert water into energy, climb Mt. Witte, make rope out of plants, dissect owl pellets, interpret early Texas art, and test their spear-throwing skills using an atlatl. A day at the Witte engages all of the senses and covers vast multidisciplinary subject matter and content. No other local museum addresses as many TEKS requirements in these innovative, hands-on ways. Educational programs at the Witte are age specific, learner-centered, inquiry-based, and enhance classroom curriculum for layered learning. All programming focuses on one or more of three educational initiatives and is designed to supplement and enhance K-12 classroom curriculum with alignment to the TEKS curriculum requirements and integration of STEM connections: South Texas heritage (history, art, culture), science (physics, health and wellness, and biology), and environmental ecology (water resources, natural history). The Witte incorporates its extensive collection of artifacts, cutting-edge technologies, multi-media presentations, painting, photography, music, drama, literature, folk art, and hands-on experiences to create highly successful exhibits and programs. This ensures that the content presented is engaging, relevant, and relates to the work students and teachers do every day in the classroom. The Witte provides multi-sensory experiences, promotes cooperative learning, fosters critical thinking in science, art and history, encourages creativity, and invites interactions with real specimens, artifacts, and art.

To ensure programs are relevant and relatable to the community we serve, the Witte Museum collaborates with school districts and specific classrooms, from superintendents to individual classroom teachers in addition to curriculum-specific specialists, scientists, engineers, and artists. The demand for new programs with new information each year is high, since many educators utilize Witte programming to refresh their content-area knowledge annually, especially in Science subjects. The Witte is proud to address a community need for literacy in STEM subjects by providing informal learning opportunities to encounter science through real-world and out-of-school connections. STEM at the Witte is not simply a science initiative; rather, STEM permeates our teaching of South Texas heritage, natural history and health and wellness.

The Witte uses established qualitative and quantitative evaluation procedures to evaluate exhibits and public programs. Methods include face-to-face surveys, voluntary electronic surveys and teacher evaluation forms distributed to ensure meaningful community input. A report incorporating staff recommendations focusing on the analyzed data is compiled yearly and submitted to the Witte Senior Management Team and the Board of Trustees. Successes are repeated and constructive feedback is implemented. As an active partner with educators and parents, the Witte rigorously assesses its educational programs on a regular basis. In this way, we ensure that all our programs are relevant, engaging, and designed to meet the state-mandated TEKS curriculum standards.

As San Antonio's oldest public museum, the Witte Museum has a strong record of engaging multigenerational audiences with hands-on learning and accurate information. When founding director and schoolteacher Ellen S. Quillin established the Witte Museum in 1926, she instilled a spirit of community education that has endured. Today, the Witte thrives under strong leadership, with balanced budgets and a successful capital campaign to expand the museum campus. The Witte is unsurpassed in San Antonio in the quality, scope, and variety of programming it provides. The Witte delivers access to specialized knowledge through programs in history that strengthen ties to the past and foster a sense of place; programs in science keep the community abreast of discoveries and trends in healthy living; and programs in environmental ecology teach conservation and preservation for a healthy future.

The Witte is transforming its campus to be on par with the nation's best museums, which will expand these educational opportunities and serve more people. The Witte has just completed a major transformative campus expansion, the “New Witte," encompassing a geological narrative of 115 million years of Texas Deep Time, which includes a major renovation and expansion of the main museum building: a new visitor entrance; Valero Great Hall; new Galleries for Dinosaurs, Texas Wild, and People of the Pecos; Learning Labs; orientation gallery; programmed gardens; and museum store, among other new and renovated areas, as well as the Mays Family Center for large blockbuster exhibits, special events (such as city-wide robotics competitions), and a school orientation pavilion. Working with schools, agencies, families and scholars for planning, the Witte will enhance TEKS-based curriculum, including popular and effective STEM programs in the areas of engineering, math, archeology, history, paleontology, anthropology, environmental ecology, and health, while providing career readiness activities, a sense of place, and a safe haven for learning. The New Witte is anticipated to welcome more than 600,000 visitors annually, an impact which will be unparalleled in San Antonio or the region.

In preparation for the New Witte, the Witte opened three new centers over the last three years, the Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center, the East Wing of the B. Naylor Morton Research and Collections Center, and the H-E-B Body Adventure Powered by University Health System, all of which offer dynamic programs, demonstrations, and InterActor encounters. These attract repeat visitation, building a potent continuity of civic engagement in heritage, health, and science. Since the South Texas Heritage Center (STHC) opened in 2012, more than 850,000 visitors have learned about the history and culture of this region. The infusion of science and natural history in the STHC illustrates the urgency from families and teachers to provide learning opportunities in nature and science that embrace the San Antonio River, which is also the focus of the Body Adventure and New Witte. The state-of-the-art Morton Research and Collections Center opened in March 2014 and is one of only a few in the world to offer such unparalleled public access to collections. Visitors can curate their experiences in the Research and Collections Center, pulling out drawers and investigating art and artifacts in their own personal inquiries. In May 2014, the H-E-B Body Adventure opened as a revolutionary national model of family health, wellness and physical activity endorsed by Mayor's Fitness Council and SA2020. These improvements to the Witte's physical campus will represent progress toward meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission.

Financials

WITTE MUSEUM
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

WITTE MUSEUM

Board of directors
as of 2/9/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Dirk Elmendorf

r26D


Board co-chair

Mr. Ryan Berg

Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry

Dirk Elmendorf

r26D

Ryan Berg

Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry

Mary Traylor

Sola Vaca Ranch

Mark Metcalfe

Wells Fargo Advisors

J.J. Feik

Feik Industries

Peggy Walker

U.S. Trust, Bank of America

Bill Anderson

H-E-B

Amy Rhodes

Capital Group/American Funds

Michael Bolner

Bolner's Fiesta Products

Jack Stein

Community Volunteer

Susan Naylor

The Will Smith Foundation

Inigo Arzac

World Affairs Council

Heather Chandler

Innovative Media Group

Magaly Chocano

Sweb

David Dunham

Texas Monthly Magazine

Rob Finney

Commerce Capital Partners LLC

Don Gonzales

Estrada Hinojosa & Co.

Eric Honeyman

Valero Energy Corporation

Robert Hunt

Hunt Consulting Group

Rob Killen

Kaufman/Killen

Joe McLauchlan

KPMG

Buddy Morris

Spire Risk Management LLC

Rob Sigman

Veterinary Growth Partners

Jesse Travis

Fusion Advisors

Xavier Urrutia

Alamo Colleges District

Mike Howard

Howard Energy Partners

Esteban Lopez

Google Cloud

Andrea Pitts

Young Women's Leadership Academy - Primary

Brandi Vitier

The Bank of San Antonio

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/09/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data