Emeritus Trustee Ann B. Brinkerhoff exemplifies commitment to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, giving generously and enthusiastically her time, resources and expertise for over 40 years. As a capstone of her years of service, Ann spearheaded the formation of the HMNS Legacy Society of which she is the Chairman and a Charter Member. “The Museum has been an important part of my life and it was only fitting to provide for the Museum’s future and encourage others to do the same” explained Ann.
Ann’s devotion to the Museum is rooted in her inherent curiosity and love of learning, as well as her dedication to her family. When her children were young, Ann’s spare time was sparse. Yet, she felt bound to serve and found time to volunteer at organizations that benefitted children. She discovered the Houston Museum of Natural Science when her children began taking classes there. She joined the Guild, which she said was very much like the Junior League at that time, and was a docent for several years on Wednesday mornings. “I remembered my first time in front of a group of 4th graders and I was terrified,” she confessed. “Thankfully, I calmed down by focusing on all the lovely and rare objects in the Museum, trying to see them through the children’s eyes.”
Ann’s leadership skills and fundraising acumen flourished in the Guild. She chaired the Guild’s 1973 kitchen tour which raised $25,000—breaking all previous records. “It was a lot of work,” said Ann. “But it was so rewarding because I had a great group of women helping me and I formed many long-lasting friendships.” Ann’s fundraising success, reliability and ability to get things done made her the natural selection as the Guild’s president from 1974-1975.
In 1975, Ann was elected to the HMNS Board of Trustees and continues to serve today as an Emeritus Trustee. During her years of involvement with the Museum, Ann directed her attention and fundraising skills toward three major building campaigns, and saw the Museum’s annual attendance grow from less than 500,000 to more than 3 million. Her special projects have revolved around the Museum’s education and travel programs, and the malacology collection.
In addition to her work at the Museum, Ann has held leadership positions with the Women’s Institute, Hogg Foundation, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, the Philosophical Society, Institute of Texas Cultures and the University of Texas honors college. A life-long student, Ann is a voracious reader and spent every summer for 10 years taking classes at Cambridge University.
A devoted wife and mother, Ann was married to the late Robert Brinkerhoff, who she met while both were students at the University of Texas. During his lifetime, Robert built a successful oil company, supported Ann’s volunteer endeavors and together they raised four children. Through her work at the Museum and other cultural institutions, Ann brings to life the famous words of her hero, the first female anthropologist, Dr. Margaret Mead, who said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
We hope you will follow Ann’s lead this #GivingTuesday in supporting the important mission of HMNS.
If you are interested in more information on what you can do to help HMNS out, check out our Giving Tuesday page
And if you are interested in giving to HMNS this holiday season, here is a link to our donations page