Organization Mission Statement:
Explore. Engage. Envision.
The Whiteside Museum of Natural History is dedicated to inspiring every generation to embrace a positive future of limitless opportunities. By encouraging scientific exploration of our past and present world, and the immense cultural and scientific importance represented by the town of Seymour, Texas, the pathways to the future of our youth are infinite.
The Whiteside Museum of Natural History (WMNH) was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in December of 2013 due to the herculean philanthropic efforts of Judge Clyde E. Whiteside. As a lifelong mission to create a natural history museum for Seymour based on the incredible paleontological importance of Seymour and Baylor County, Judge Whiteside financed the museum’s development. WMNH to date has enjoyed approximately 44,000 visitors, including 11,000 school children engaged in free school-sponsored visits. WMNH provides all visitors with an interactive glimpse into the natural world and more specifically the ancient life that once inhabited North Texas. In 2017, the WMNH Paleontology team discovered Bonnie, a complete skeleton of the famous finback reptile, Dimetrodon. Now on display, the 287 million-year-old fossil delights all guests and ranks as one of the most complete Dimetrodon skeletons ever found. In 2018, the WMNH opened its first outdoor exhibit, a 15-foot-long metal sculpture of a Dimetrodon, an icon representing Seymour and its natural history. WMNH retains a successful volunteer program that currently holds approximately 30 active members. The WMNH volunteer program also provides the senior citizen demographic with healthy and active community service opportunities, many of which have now become expert tour guides and proficient paleontology preparation technicians.
Judge Clyde E. Whiteside (1927 – 1917)
The Whiteside Museum of Natural History could not have been possible without the vision and generosity of Judge Clyde Emerson Whiteside. Born on May 2nd, 1927 in Seymour, Texas, Judge Whiteside was a lifelong philanthropist devoted to supporting his hometown through community and economic development projects. His career in law and politics spanned more than 60 years and served in numerous legislative and judicial capacities. He served two terms in the Texas State Legislature before continuing his education at Baylor University Law School. Upon returning to Seymour, he established a law office, and was soon elected to the position of County Attorney and later District Attorney for a total of 14 years. Judge Whiteside then moved to Austin, Texas and served as chairman of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole, for more than 10 years. For the next 23 years, he served as District Judge for Montague, Clay, and Archer counties, after being appointed to the position by the Governor of Texas. In 2013, Judge Whiteside purchased a building in Seymour with intentions to create a museum for the community that would preserve and display the rich fossil history of Seymour, Texas. Located on the corner of Washington and Nevada streets, the Oakland Pontiac car dealership, circa 1930, would become the home of the Whiteside Museum of Natural History. Following the purchase of the building, Judge Whiteside hired paleontologist and museum director Christopher Flis to oversee the development of the museum, its exhibits, and all other aspects of the museums operations and programs.
WMNH proudly promotes the advancement of science education through a world-class, fully interactive paleontology preparation laboratory, interactive paleontology exhibits, and outreach programming. WMNH strives to reach out to the diverse communities and groups of Seymour and beyond and retains a successful volunteer program that currently holds approximately 100 active members. The WMNH volunteer program also provides the senior citizen demographic with healthy and active community service opportunities.
Where Do Your Donations Go?
Your generous contributions contribute to the world-class museum experience we provide to schools at no cost. By providing future students with free museum tours and programs, we are inspiring the next generations to find their passion and explore their world.