News and Announcements

J.P. Bryan receives National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Historic Preservation Medal

March 9, 2018

On March 9th, the prestigious NSDAR Historic Preservation Medal was presented to J. P. Bryan at a black-tie banquet hosted by the Texas Daughters of the American Revolution at their annual conference in San Antonio.

The Historic Preservation Medal recognizes and honors a person who has done extraordinary work at the regional, state, and/or national level preserving and promoting history over a long period of time. This work includes establishing a historic district, preserving a local landmark, restoring or preserving objects of historic cultural significance, establishing or participating in oral history projects, and youth leadership and education as they pertain to historic preservation. J.P. Bryan fits this profile in every category and it is fitting that his lifelong dedication and passion for promoting and preserving the history of Texas and the American West is being recognized through this significant award.

Volunteers Annual Meeting

January 23, 2018

On Tuesday, January 23rd, The Bryan Museum Volunteer team met to review 2017 accomplishments and to discuss the new goals. The addendums to the Volunteer Handbook, 2017 KPIs, Volunteer Program and Museum goals and updates were discussed at the Annual Meeting. Volunteers also had the opportunity to meet new Director, Joan Marshall, in a Mix & Mingle at the end of the meeting. We also celebrated the birthday of Bonnie Angle who was surprised with a birthday cake from her husband Jim.

The Bryan Museum announces New Director – Joan Marshall

January 15, 2018

The Bryan Museum, a museum that houses one of the world's largest collections of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to Texas and the American West, is pleased to welcome Joan Marshall as its new Director.

Marshall earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Master’s degree of Arts in History from University of Texas – Austin. She focused on Executive Program in Non-profit Management at the Graduate School of Business from Stanford University.

She has extensive experience in non-profit leadership, fundraising, and strategic planning. She recently served as the Executive Director of Travis Audubon Society in Austin, and has more than 20 years of museum experience.

“We are extremely pleased to get a person with Joan’s background in museums,” said J.P. Bryan, Founder of The Bryan Museum. “She carries an impressive resume, has directed institutions such as The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, TX and the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, CA. In addition, she brings experience from the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts. We believe her experience intersects ideally with the present progress of the Museum from its inception in 2015.”

“I’m a native Texan and am thrilled to be at the Bryan Museum,” said Marshall, Director. “We have one of the best collections related to Texas and the West of any museum in the country. But more importantly, we’re changing the way history is taught – it’s an exciting time to be here.”

Ross and Rosmarie Dinyari Visit The Bryan Museum

January 15, 2018

On Monday, January 15th, Ross and Rosmarie Dinyari, previous owners of the former Galveston Orphans Home, visited The Bryan Museum for the first time since selling it to J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan in 2013. Ross purchased the building in the late 1980s and spent much blood, sweat, and tears, and close to two million dollars to transform the then abandoned and dilapidated building into his exquisite private residence.

Ross moved to Houston in 1971 from Detroit to get away from the months of mud season typical there to explore the tropical south. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1967, worked in Milwaukee in Electronics, moved to Australia in early 1970, returned to Detroit for about a year then moved to Houston in the 80s. In Houston he founded RDA Service and Manufacturing serving downstream and heavy industries world-wide.

Due to his many global travels, Ross got the urge to buy a castle. He looked around Europe, primarily in France. On an unexpected trip to Galveston however, he fell in love with the culture and the historical aspect of the town and became interested in buying an historical building there. On a whim, a realtor wanted him to see the Galveston Orphans Home which had been taken back by the bank from a developer who had defaulted on his loan. When Ross saw the building, it was in terrible shape. The fencing was broken and drifters were living in the building. The copper roof had been stolen and the building was totally wet. Windows and doors were broken and trash was everywhere...

However, Ross can see through the mess of a place and visualize how it could look. The castles in France and Europe looked very nice from the outside, but inside they were a web of hallways, small rooms, and often very bad and unattractive construction or decoration. The Orphanage was different and Ross could see what it would look like with some time and effort, through the mess it seemed, to the grand lady it was. He decided to buy it.

It took 2 years and well over a million dollars to renovate the building to bring it back to the magnificent and beautiful structure it is. It took Fourteen 40-foot dumpsters of trash to empty the building. It took over 1,150 gallons of stripper to hand strip all the wood. With the copper roof gone, the floors were warped and the plaster moldy and broken...

Ross had many fund raisers and receptions at the Orphanage, which he called "TAVILLEH”. He estimates that since late 1988 when he bought the building he had over 25,000 visitors and guests at Tavilleh including many high-ranking individuals and foreign dignitaries, whom all would tell him never to sell his fabulous home.

When Ross was single, Tavilleh was his sanctuary and he never thought he would sell it. During the years he lived there, Ross hosted 5 weddings including his own in May of 1998. His beautiful German wife, Rosmarie, loved Tavilleh, but not as a home. Ross succumbed to his bride’s wishes of course and they moved away from Tavilleh in the late 90s.

Ross will tell you, the old orphanage is a solid masonry structure, built to withstand the likes of the 1900 Hurricane and, as it turned out, Hurricane Ike in 2008 which did a huge amount of damage in Galveston and virtually no damage to Tavilleh. Only six glass windows were broken or cracked from shutters which were loose. While the Stand was under eight feet of water, only one foot of water came in the basement at Tavilleh.

J.P. and Ross wandered the galleries of The Bryan Museum together sharing stories of their adventures restoring and transforming the building they both love into the splendid place it is today. Ross shared with everyone present that he long ago had a vision of his home one day becoming a library or a museum. Perhaps it was that dream that first drew J.P. to the old orphanage...

The Bryan Museum and all of us who value and treasure the building that, if she could talk would have so many stories to tell, owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ross Dinyari. Ross saved her, added a chapter to her history, and gave us the opportunity to be her voice, enabling us to tell the story of this grand and wonderful place that we now call The Bryan Museum.

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