The Centennial Museum was constructed in 1936 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. A variety of temporary exhibits address themes related to border life and culture, the Americas and the University's history and current activities.
The Centennial Museum is El Paso’s first museum. It was established in 1936 thanks to state funding in honor of the Centennial Celebration of the State of Texas.
It opened its doors to the public in April 1937 at what was then known as the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy (now The University of Texas at El Paso).
The Centennial Museum was built to blend in with the distinctive architecture of the campus, with the signature tile mandalas and the steep sloping walls fashioned after Bhutanese fortresses. Stone urns shaped as prayer wheels grace both sides of the main entrance steps.
Through out the museum you can see artwork from some of El Paso's most renowned artists that depicts some of the area's history.
The museum has approximately 73,000 items in its various collections that depict the cultural and natural history of the region.
The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens were founded.