An exterior rendering of the newly announced Dawson Family Hall at the Witte Museum. Credit: Courtesy / Witte Museum

The ongoing expansion and renovation of the Witte Museum has achieved a new milestone. On Wednesday, the museum announced a $1 million pledge from the Dawson family for a new museum auditorium.

Renovations, including the new auditorium, are projected to begin next summer. The addition will accommodate weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, and double capacity for the museum’s Science Showcase STEM programs, which reach 50,000 local students per year. The auditorium will be named the Dawson Family Hall.

An interior rendering of the newly announced Dawson Family Hall at the Witte Museum.

“What is poetic about this transformative gift from the Dawson family is the connection of the Witte Museum and Rotary of San Antonio, both of which have been integral organizations for generations of Dawsons,” said Witte President and CEO Marise McDermott in a news release.

McDermott mentioned decades-long Rotary Club member Eugene H. Dawson Sr., board chair emeritus of Pape-Dawson Engineers Inc., and its CEO Sam Dawson, also a former Witte board chair and co-chair of the museum’s capital campaign.

“To be a part of the future of … a place of lifelong learning is really meaningful and special to our entire family,” Dawson said in the news release.

The expansion design by Lake Flato Architects will match the museum’s current facade and interior, and include a new entrance gate on Tuleta Drive. With flexible seating arrangements, the auditorium will accommodate 320 guests for Rotary Club meetings and 450 students for auditorium-style seating for the Science Showcase programming.

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank

Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with an indie rock...