The adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” couldn’t be more fitting for the Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur.
The museum’s lineage dates back to the 1960s and a 1,200 square foot insect collection inside a Cook's Pest Control warehouse in The River City. Initially used to train Cook employees, it became a museum and “mini zoo” for school and Scout group field trips after word spread about the quality and content of the displays.
By the end of the 1970s, more than 5,000 people per year were coming to see the warehouse collection, which lead to the building in 1980 of a dedicated 5,000 square-foot building. Constructed on Cook’s Pest Control corporate grounds, the attraction connected among families and schoolchildren of the area and because of John Cook Sr.’s passion to showcase the wonder of God's creation.
The next generation was on the forefront of the Cook family’s mind in 2012 when they began visioning an entirely new, non-profit 501(c)3 natural science museum to engage and inspire the future. Guided by market research and community feedback, the plan for the new museum grew, and in the summer of 2015, construction began on the state-of-the-art 62,000 square-foot building and exhibits in our city center.
Service, stewardship, and community have always been at the core of the Cook Museum, even as far back as the founding. While our square footage has changed, what we continue to believe has not.
The museum team is passionate about contributing to the north Alabama and southeastern region. Of course, the museum does tend to draw in visitors from across the region and attracts financial resources which fund local businesses and organizations – fueling our local economy.
As a new and modern attraction in the area, the museum contributes to the forward-thinking mentality of the region. There is already so much growth potential being cultivated in our area, and we are excited to have the opportunity to be a part of that and to contribute to that mindset.
When people have positive and uplifting activities that families can enjoy together, they create the kinds of memories that make our area truly special. That’s what we’re all working towards together in this region.
Mike Taylor is the marketing and public relations manager for the Cook Museum of Natural Science. For more information about the museum, please click here.