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The El Paso Centennial Museum was built to celebrate the anniversary of Texas independence, making it the oldest museum in El Paso. Permanent exhibits in the museum focus on the natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert region, the largest desert in North America, and the ties of friendship that exist between the University and Bhutan can be seen in its surroundings. The Centennial Museum and Gardens sponsor such events as lectures/talks, collaborative exhibits with other museums on campus or in El Paso and FloraFEST.

Mission Statement


The Centennial Museum is an academic support and outreach unit of The University of Texas at El Paso focusing primarily on the natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert. It promotes and shares knowledge and understanding of the natural diversity of the region and its people. The museum meets its responsibilities through the presentation and curation of the permanent collections, including the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. Furthermore, the museum promotes the scholarly research of UTEP students, faculty, and alumni, and supports the general mission of The University of Texas at El Paso.

El Museo Centennial es una institucion de apoyo y divulgación academica de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso que se enfoca principalmente en la historia natural y cultural del desierto de Chihuahua. Promueve y comparte el conocimiento y la comprensión de la diversidad natural de la región y su gente. El museo cumple con sus responsabilidades mediante la exhibición y preservación de las colecciones permanentes, incluidos los Jardines del Desierto de Chihuahua. Además, el museo promueve la investigación académica de los estudiantes, profesores y ex alumnos de UTEP, y apoya la misión general de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso.


The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens celebrates the stories of life in the Chihuahuan Desert. We aim to engage the border community with participatory programs and exhibitions that inspire dialogue about and respect for the natural world and our cultural heritage. As a university museum, we expand access to knowledge and opportunities that higher education and cultural engagement can offer. Through collaborations with the diverse UTEP community and the larger binational public, we participate as a trusted resource and promote creative learning.






Hours and Admission

 When is the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens open? When is the Lhakhang Cultural Exhibit open?

 The Centennial Museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the exception of holidays and UTEP Football home games. The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk. For additional questions or information please contact us via email at  or by telephone at (915) 747-5565.

 The Lhakhang Cultural Exhibition

Open 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Wednesday and first Saturday of the Month. For additional questions or information about the Lhakhang, please contact Evan Lopez, Education Curator via email at or by telephone at (915) 747-8994.

 Is there an admission fee to visit the Museum, Gardens, and/or the Lhakhang?

Admission is always free and open to the public! The Museum, Gardens, and the Lhakhang are also family-friendly and ADA accessible. For any additional questions or information, please contact us via email at  or by telephone at (915) 747-5565.

 Where are you located?

We are located at the University of Texas at El Paso, 610 W. University Ave.; at the corner with University and Wiggins Rd. Some of the Museum landmarks include a digital marquee and Bhutanese Prayer Flags located on the outside of the museum. 

 Where should I park? Is there a parking fee?

The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens offer free parking to all museums, gardens, and Lhakhang visitors. Parking is located off University Ave, please inquire with toll booth assistant for directions.

 All visitors must obtain a parking pass from the front desk or administrative office and display it on the dashboard. Additional paid parking is available at the Sunbowl Parking Garage.