Created in 1936, the Centennial was the first museum in El Paso and one of the earliest buildings at the College of Mines, (now the University of Texas, El Paso). The museum focuses on the natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert region, which is 140,000 square miles in size and covers parts of the U.S. and Mexico.


  • The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens
    The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens
  • The Centennial Museum
    The Centennial Museum

More specifically, its permanent exhibits explore the geology, paleontology, and the peoples who have inhabited the area. The geology exhibit looks not only rocks and minerals but also the railroading industry, volcanoes and earthquakes. The paleontology exhibit features invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, from algae specimens to dinosaur bones. And in the cultural exhibit are displays and dioramas of the different groups that have lived in the region. There is also a mammal and bird gallery, which features the animals that live in this part of North America. The changing exhibitions focus on the culture of border life and relations between the U.S. and Mexico. The desert gardens feature 600 native plants from the Chihuahuan Desert.

"About Us." Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. Accessed August 2, 2016. http://admin.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=60232.