Oscar Monnig was never a scientist by trade. Born in Fort Worth in 1902, he spent much of his life running a dry goods business, but his lack of formal training never suppressed his interest in astronomy. He started collecting small space rocks in the 1930s, and throughout the following decades, it evolved into one of the impressive private collections in the world.
Today, Monnig’s assemblage is at TCU, where it has been on view and open to the public since 2003. The collection consists of more than 1,600 rocks, although only about a tenth of those are on display. While learning the basics about different types of meteorites, kids have the opportunity to touch and hold a few pieces; they can even create their own crater. The gallery also hosts special events such as Lockheed Martin Space Day, with lectures, a telescope class, and an appearance by a former NASA astronaut.