Coterra Strikes a Chord with the Sound Garden

Coterra Energy is committed to investing in community initiatives that resonate with locals—and the latest project in our long-standing partnership with The Museum of the Southwest literally resonates in Midland, Texas. 

In March of 2024, The Museum of the Southwest opened a new community space: The Sound Garden. Coterra Energy is proud to support this exciting new educational and recreational opportunity for those who call the Permian Basin home. 

The Museum of the Southwest, Sound Garden

Outside the Sound Garden, a plaque reads: “Coterra’s investment in the outdoor Sound Garden at the Museum of the Southwest is a harmonious testament to our passion for nurturing communities where culture and nature unite to create enduring beauty.”

To shed light on the newest addition to The Museum’s sprawling, lively campus, we sat down with Mary Katherine Marshall, Senior Director of Development and Communications, to chat about the Sound Garden, Coterra’s storied partnership with The Museum, and more.

Coterra Energy and The Museum of the Southwest: A Partnership with Longevity

For the past decade, Coterra Energy and The Museum of the Southwest have worked hand-in-hand to create engaging community spaces in Midland. Let’s dive into how both teams have changed the face of the Permian Basin for generations to come. 

About The Museum of the Southwest

“The Museum has a rich history,” says Mary Katherine Marshall. “ was at one time the home of the Turner family. Juliette and Fred Turner, along with their daughters Fredda Turner (Durham) and Dorothy Turner (Scharbauer), were involved in the community through social and philanthropic events.”

The Museum of the Southwest, staff 1965

A snapshot from 1965 in the early days of the museum’s history. Photo courtesy of The Museum of the Southwest. 

The Turners and their daughters were committed to advancing history, culture, art, and science throughout the Permian Basin, and The Museum stewards that legacy via its community programming. During the past decades, The Museum has added facilities like:

  • The Thomas Gallery
  • Lissa Noël Wagner Wing
  • The Marian West and William Blanton Blakemore Planetarium
  • The Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum
  • The Sculpture Garden

The original Turner family home and the stables are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Via a wide variety of community events, exhibits, and programs, The Museum seeks to engage, educate, and inspire Midland, Texas residents and visitors from all walks of life.

The Museum of the Southwest

The Museum of the Southwest’s campus used to be the home of Juliette, Fred, Fredda, and Dorothy Turner. In addition to housing this beloved community museum, the property is a historical treasure. Photo courtesy of The Museum of the Southwest. 

About Coterra Energy’s Commitment to Community, Education, and More

Coterra Energy is guided by four key principles:

  • Community
  • Agriculture
  • Veterans & First Responders
  • Education

These C.A.V.E. principles are at the heart of our vision; they’re the driving forces behind our operational model, our community investments, and more. In an effort to be good neighbors and support the Marcellus, Permian, and Anadarko basins, we intentionally use our resources to foster prosperity and protect the environment we share. 

All of this demonstrates why we’ve partnered with The Museum of the Southwest for the last decade; we believe in their mission, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to fulfill that mission. 

And this partnership has made a substantial impact on The Museum, says Mary Katherine Marshall. “The people at Coterra Energy and leadership…have made a conscious decision to invest in communities where employees live so that they have more fulfilling lives. The partnership has exceeded what we expected—not just financially, but Coterra Energy has become such an advocate for what we do on campus.”

The Museum of the Southwest, Sound Garden Opening, Coterra

Representatives from Coterra Energy attended the grand opening of the Sound Garden in March 2024. Pictured from left to right: Thuy Garcia, Stephen Flaherty, George Stark, Rebekah Mena, Mary Katherine Marshall, Thomas E. Jorden, Kristin Tacker, Dusty Burger, Becca Myers, and Krystal Myers. 

What does that look like, practically speaking? 

A significant uptick in community engagement, especially for underserved communities. “In the past several years, The Museum has welcomed just over 100,000 guests to campus annually,” says Marshall. “Nearly 20% of those guests have come on Sundays, which are free to the public and only made possible by Coterra Energy’s generous support. The impact of not having cost as a barrier to art, culture, science, and history is unmeasurable in an area with mostly Title I schools.” 

Coterra Energy hopes that our support will continue to engage Midland, Texas locals—and that’s why we supported The Museum’s newest exciting addition.

The Sound Garden: An Engaging Community Space

Enter The Sound Garden: an interactive space where visitors can explore the science behind sound. 

When visitors use mallets to strike various sculptural elements in The Garden, they can feel the sound waves reverberate throughout the space. This adds yet another engaging sensory experience to The Museum’s array of exhibits and installations. 

The Museum of the Southwest, Sound Garden

Throughout the Sound Garden, there are various xylophone-like sculptures for visitors to interact with. 

The Sound Garden is the perfect venue for:

  • A school field trip – Along with other Museum properties, The Sound Garden offers a highly interactive experience for students of all ages.
  • A summer break activity – Parents and caretakers in Midland can add yet another fun activity to their summer break docket: The Sound Garden is sure to spark creativity and an appreciation for the science of sound. 
  • Events – The Museum of the Southwest hosts a variety of events year-round. If you’re looking for a compelling event venue, The Sound Garden could be a good match for you.

In short, The Sound Garden is an exciting, interactive addition to an already exceptional community space.  

Coterra Energy: Fostering a Brighter Tomorrow

The Sound Garden is just one chapter in Coterra Energy’s storied partnership with The Museum of the Southwest. And no one is more excited about what’s on the horizon than Mary Katherine Marshall: 

“This partnership has so many possibilities for our community,” Marshall remarks. “What I look forward to most is what it means for our guests— come for opportunities not available anywhere else, and made possible by Coterra Energy.”
We’re proud to help The Museum of the Southwest continue its impactful legacy. But this is just the tip of the iceberg—subscribe to the Well Said Weekly newsletter for updates on all of our community initiatives.


The Museum of the Southwest. Home. 

The Museum of the Southwest. Our History. 

The Museum of the Southwest. Events.