The Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretive Center, Inc. was established in 2004 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization to develop and operate a botanical garden, museum and town green featuring the native plants and archaeological history of the prehistoric period (20,000 BC to 600 AD).
The Center's mission is to provide a dynamic, interactive, lifelong learning experience while identifying, preserving and showcasing the rich prehistoric and environmental aspects of rural Mills County.
Located at the center of Texas, Mills County occupies an ecologically rich region that sustained one of the longest continuous records of hunter-gatherer lifestyle known in North America. Nomadic tribes relied on plants for food, clothing, shelter and medicine and developed innovative plant processing (bedrock mortars) and cooking (earth ovens) technologies. Remnants of this lifestyle are still visible today within thousands of archaeological sites – many tracing back 13,500 years – along the Colorado River Basin.
The museum and botanical gardens will celebrate and educate visitors about the prehistory and culture of Central Texas. Exhibits will depict the region's landscape, flora and fauna and will balance and combine indoor and outdoor education opportunities celebrating the impact of the Colorado River Basin on people past and present. Film series, art works, prehistoric artifacts and interactive multimedia presentations will capture and convey the rich history and integrated lifestyle of native Central Texans.
Sustainability will feature prominently in the design, exhibits and programs of the Center. Educational demonstrations promoting drought awareness, water conservation and native plant landscaping will be conducted for visitors of all ages. Indoor and outdoor exhibits will be designed to engage and challenge visitors to develop an awareness and appreciation of the lives and contributions of native Texans and an ethic that fosters responsible stewardship of natural and cultural resources.
In addition to offering a variety of cultural and educational enrichment opportunities, the Center will create a vibrant social hub for residents of and visitors to Goldthwaite and the surrounding rural region. The botanical gardens and museum will be available for rent during off-hours for business meetings, weddings and other community events. The town green, located adjacent to the botanical gardens, museum and welcome center, will provide a public plaza for concerts, powwows and cultural activities.