With any luck, the third time will prove the charm.

The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, which will officially open its doors in Grand Center on Friday night, is much-traveled. It was founded in 1965 to honor inventors and photographers of note but didn’t have a physical home.

Possessions, in the form of photographs and equipment, came in steadily, however, and in 1977 the first Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Santa Barbara, Calif. In 1983, it moved to the Kirkpatrick Center in Oklahoma City.

There, it was located in a science building; when a decision was taken to limit its exhibits solely to the scientific, the photographers had to find a new home. They looked in Rochester, N.Y., and in Miami. Then executive director John Nagel met Grand Center head Vincent Schoemehl, and found just the place in St. Louis, above the Triumph Grill.

With the schools and existing base of professional photographers and organizations here, director of operations Kathy Lee Bradley said, “St. Louis seemed like a great place” for the hall of fame.

The first exhibition in the flexible, open new space is “The Past, Present & Future of Nature Photography.” Stunning images of Tasmania by the Latvian-German-Australian photographer Peter Dombrovskis (1945-1996) line the walls, fascinating photos of lichens or twisted tree roots, made into artifacts by his eye and lens, represent the past. Work by Noppadol Paothong, a staff photographer at the Missouri Department of Conservation, is the present; photos by members of the National Geographic Young Explorers (ages 20 to 28) and North American Nature Photography Association High School Scholarship Students (ages 14 to 19) represent the future of the genre.

The IPHF’s impressive collection of historic photographic equipment, including a basic box Brownie, assorted press cameras and a large 19th-century studio camera, is displayed in cases that line the walls and occupy spots in the center of the room. The latter are on wheels, so that they can easily be moved; the space has been designed to be flexible, both for shows and for rentals for parties, workshops and lectures, with a capacity of 200.

Still to come is a digital media wall, to show everything from the portraits and significant work of Hall of Fame members to videos. And, Bradley noted, IPHF just received funding for a library and computers. The museum is still developing, but on Friday, it will be ready for its close-up.

{hr /}International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum: Grand Opening

When • Opening is 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday; through Jan. 25.

Where • 3415 Olive Street

How much • Free

More info • 314-535-1999;