News Archive 2017

Moody National Bank Presented Holiday Delights at The Bryan Museum

December 9, 2017

The Bryan Museum held its first annual Holiday Delights Open House on Saturday, December 9th. The event was presented by Moody National Bank and Museum admission was free to the public. Santa Claus and his elves were on the front porch of the former Galveston Orphans Home and cheered young and old with their jolly demeanor and promises of Christmas treasure.

The impressive School of Rock’s Band, made up of very talented high schoolers from the local Clear Lake area, played music in the Museum’s lovely manicured bird sanctuary and butterfly gardens. Hot chocolate and holiday confections were enjoyed by everyone. Even the weather cooperated with sunshine and seasonal temperatures. Much to the pleasure of all, J.P. Bryan, founder of The Bryan Museum, and his faithful English Springer Spaniel, Chalk, greeted guests and led impromptu tours of the vast and intriguing collection on display.

It was an event for the entire community and the number of visitors on Saturday surpassed 500, our busiest day to date. The Museum extends a sincere and heartfelt thank you to Moody National Bank, our staff and awesome volunteers, and to every one of you who joined us and made the day one for the history books, you are the reason we exist! We are proud to be a part of such a wonderful community and look forward to welcoming one and all back soon!

An Evening at The Bryan 2017

October 11, 2017

An Evening at The Bryan is the biggest night of the year for The Bryan Museum. Friends and supporters were captivated this year by the almost magical recreation of Galveston’s famous Balinese Room, one of the most celebrated night clubs in the nation in the 1940s and 1950s.

The second annual fundraising gala, held on September 30th, featured Balinese style casino gambling and the first presentation of the Buck ‘n Ball Award to the Honorable James A. Baker, III. This award is given to distinguished and history changing individuals with roots in Texas and/or the American West.

The Gala was held on the beautiful grounds of The Bryan Museum, the former Galveston Orphans Home. The event was hosted by Houston’s own Frank Billingsley and approximately 350 attendees enjoyed the evening which included an intimate and stunning performance by Lyle Lovett and his band. The proceeds were donated to the Education Institute at The Bryan Museum for their New Writers and Historians Project, collection related Speaker Series, as well as other educational initiatives.

Founders J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan expressed their deep gratitude for the outpouring of friendship and support from all who attended and participated. “We are humbled, amazed and so thankful for the overwhelming success of the evening and the incredible generosity of our guests and friends, we thank all of them. A very special thanks to Secretary Baker for honoring us with his presence, the incomparable Lyle Lovett for his extraordinary performance, our dedicated volunteers and staff, and everyone involved in making the evening one that will go down in history.”

The significant funds raised at the gala will provide students in the Galveston Independent School District and beyond access to the Museum and its innovative programming aimed at generating excitement and interest in the lessons history has to teach. In addition, ten percent of proceeds from the prize raffle held during the event will be donated to Hurricane Harvey Pet Relief.

The Bryan Museum opened its doors in June of 2015 and has since welcomed more than 75,000 people to experience “the West as it will never be seen again”. The Museum is part of the growing heritage tourism scene in Galveston and houses the largest private collection in existence of art and artifacts relating to Texas and the American West.

History Camp at The Bryan

August 2, 2017
By The Daily News
Source: The Daily News
Photo: The Bryan Museum

In partnership with iWRITE, a Houston-based nonprofit literacy organization, The Bryan Museum recently completed its second week of History Camp at The Bryan Museum: Writing Your Way to High Adventure! The two five-day camps introduced nearly 30 fourth- to sixth-graders to a creative combination of history and fiction writing.

[Read article]

A Look Back at the Deadliest Natural Disaster in American History

July 7, 2017
By Jon Scott
Source: Fox News
Video: Fox News

[Watch video on Fox News]

The Collector

July 1, 2017
By Chris O'Connell
Source: Alcalde
Photo: Alcalde

There are few stranger things than watching a painting come to life while standing next to its subject, its canvas a vertically mounted flat-screen television nestled inside an ornate gold frame. The man inside the frame, a trim, white-haired man with just a wispy shock of leftover blond talks about how the West was won while the real-life version of the same man whispers in my ear.

[Read article]

The Bryan Museum Wins "Best Art Gallery & Museum" of 2017

June 24, 2017
By The Daily News
Source: The Daily News
Image: The Daily News

Every year The Galveston County Daily News rewards the best businesses in the county with our Readers' Choice program. This year's winners have been announced, and we are thrilled to learn that The Bryan Museum was voted "Best Art Gallery & Museum" of 2017!

Bridal Open House at The Bryan Museum

June 13, 2017

To celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of our beautiful Conservatory and Bridal Pavilion, The Bryan Museum hosted our first Bridal Open House on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Galveston has become the epicenter for destination weddings in Texas, and our Bridal Open House gave brides, grooms, and their families the opportunity to view our many wedding venues. Attendees were shown around our lush grounds and given tours of our elegant Bridal Suite, which was recently highlighted on Channel 13 Eyewitness News, and well-appointed Groom's Lounge.

To make it easier for out-of-town couples to connect with the island's premier wedding vendors, we partnered with the top twenty-five local bridal resources, which included award-winning caterers and florists, photographers, DJs, wedding coordinators, rental companies, and even a wedding officiant.

Admission to the event also gave participants the opportunity to tour the Museum's galleries.

The Bridal Open House was well-attended and proved so popular that we are already planning to host a second show in early 2018!

The Bryan Museum Hosts Our First Volunteer Meet & Greet!

June 6, 2017

On June 5, 2017, The Bryan Museum hosted our very first Volunteer Meet & Greet event. Attendees—those interested in becoming volunteers at the Museum—had a chance to meet and mingle with some of our current volunteers and staff while learning about the variety of opportunities our volunteer program provides.

Volunteer coordinators Rebecca Diaz-Arrastia and Tyra Brunz first told the story of The Bryan Museum and then posed questions to a panel of our current docents and guest services volunteers, allowing them to share their own unique perspectives and experiences. Volunteers and staff also took questions from the audience.

Light refreshments were enjoyed, and at the conclusion of the event, guests were invited to tour our gallery spaces.

The event was well attended, and we look forward to welcoming our new volunteers to The Bryan Museum!

McFaddin-Ward House Lecture by J.P. Bryan

May 23, 2017

As the folks at the McFaddin-Ward House Museum would say, "One man's hobby is another man's museum"—at least when they are talking about our founder, J.P. Bryan. Mr. Bryan was the featured speaker for the May 11 lecture of McFaddin-Ward's speaker series, presenting a talk entitled Collecting Texas with J.P. Bryan. [Watch video]

With his trademark charm and easy delivery, Mr. Bryan captivated his audience—a packed house—and was at his conversational and humorous best. In a candid, moving, and self-reflective way that revealed both his heart and his journey, he spoke of his life as a collector and of his passion for the history of Texas and the American West.

Mr. Bryan told his story from the purchase of his first collectible (a pistol) at age eight, to the amassing of more than 70,000 objects spanning 12,000 years of civilization, to the purchase and meticulous restoration of the 1895 Galveston Orphans Home, now home to his incredible collection. He noted gratefully the role of his wife, Mary Jon, in his lifelong quest, shared personal anecdotes, and reflected on the lessons that history offers to everyone.

The audience sat spellbound for more than an hour and had more questions than were possible to answer in the time allotted. At the conclusion of the event, attendees were invited to visit The Bryan Museum to experience "the West as it will never be seen again," J.P. Bryan's gift to us all.

Houston Life Visits The Bryan Museum

May 22, 2017

On Saturday, May 20, 2017, KPRC's lifestyle show Houston Life visited The Bryan Museum where host Jennifer Broome caught up with our curator, Nathan Jones. [Watch video]

Dreams and Reality Meet at the Bryan Museum

May 21, 2017
By Malcolm D. Gibson
Source: The Daily News
Photo: The Daily News

Dreams and reality seldom cross paths, except at the intersection of 21st Street and Avenue M in Galveston. There, in the two-story vintage Bryan Museum, a collection of rare artifacts portrays how the dreams of Texas settlers clashed head on with the brutal reality of the frontier.

[Read article]

Galveston, Sans Sand

May 12, 2017
By Lynn Ashby
Source: The Facts
Photo: The Bryan Museum

THE MUSEUM – Here's a picture with an inscription: "I am happy to acknowledge this to be the only correct lithograph that has been taken of me. David Crockett." This is the Bryan Museum in Galveston, and the next time you head for the beach, set aside some time to come here, for this is one great collection of Texas history.

[Read article]

Magnificent Treasure

May 1, 2017
By Robert Gray, Editor
Source: El Paso Inc.
Photo: Jorge Salgado

J.P. Bryan is not your average historic preservationist.

The former investment banker was once known for his business savvy in the oil and gas industry. Now he is best known for his meticulous restoration of historic buildings, particularly the Gage Hotel in Marathon.

[Read article]

Cabeza de Vaca's Barge

April 29, 2017
By David Canright
Source: Coast Monthly
Photo: The Bryan Museum

The written history of Galveston's beach and boating began 480 years ago, and did not begin well.

In June 1527, Gov. Pámfilo de Narváez set out from Spain to conquer the territory from Florida to the Rio Grande. It was the most ill-managed and ill-fated expedition in the annals of conquest.

[Read article]

The Bryan Museum Celebrates Our Volunteers!

April 28, 2017

On the evening of April 27, 2017, in honor of National Volunteer Week, The Bryan Museum celebrated our second annual Volunteer Recognition Party to recognize and thank the many volunteers who contribute their time, talent, voice, and support to The Bryan Museum.

The event was held in the Museum's beautiful Conservatory. Volunteers and their guests enjoyed wine and a delicious dinner catered by Chopin Mon Ami, then danced to live music courtesy of Sparky's Jazz Express ensemble.

In a ceremony, Dr. Jamie Christy, Director of the Museum, thanked the volunteers for their dedicated service. Volunteer coordinators Rebecca Diaz-Arrastia and Tyra Brunz recognized this year's new volunteers, volunteers who gave extraordinary commitment, and volunteers who have been with the Museum for one or more years. The evening ended with a delicious strawberry cake and a champagne toast given by Museum founder J.P. Bryan.

Collectors' Gallery Reception at the Bullock Museum

April 21, 2017
Photo: The Bullock Museum

On Wednesday, April 12, the Bullock Museum held a cocktail reception and program featuring J.P. Bryan in conversation with the Bullock's Interim Director, Margaret Koch.

The Collectors' Gallery is a new feature at the Bullock, spotlighting some of the finest treasures in the state of Texas. Mr. Bryan's collection had the honor of being chosen for its inaugural exhibition. The items on loan to the Bullock from The Bryan Museum include an ornate selection of spurs, an 18th-century Spanish colonial painted trunk, a Charles Hummel rifle, and an oil painting from Mr. Bryan's favorite Texas artist, Frank Reaugh. These items will be on display at the Bullock until June 25, 2017.

The invitation-only event for top supporters of the Bullock and special friends of The Bryan Museum in the Austin area was well received by all. There was an opportunity for attendees to view the special Bryan exhibit before and after the program with Mr. Bryan himself.

The program was an armchair discussion between Mr. Bryan and Ms. Koch that was comfortable and intimate. Mr. Bryan shared the story of the featured artifacts, the people who owned them, and how he discovered them. He also talked about his own personal history as a collector passionate about preserving and promoting the history of Texas and the American West by bringing it to life and making its lessons relevant and applicable to us today. The only complaint heard was that the talk was too short and the evening over too quickly!

St. Paul United Methodist is a Historical Treasure

April 9, 2017
By Sam Collins III
Source: The Daily News
Photo: The Daily News

On March 17, 2004, my great grandmother, Clyde Taylor-Johnson, also known as Mama Dear, celebrated her 97th birthday. That year I arranged for her to be interviewed.

[Read article]

Forgotten Gateway: Exhibit Chronicles Galveston's Role in the Immigrant Experience

April 4, 2017
By Michael Hagerty, Houston Matters
Source: Houston Public Media News 88.7

When we think of immigrants coming to America in the 19th and 20th centuries, you usually think of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. And it's easy to forget the role Galveston played as a port of entry to many seeking refuge and success in the United States.

[Read more] | Listen to segment]

When the Lone Star State Took on Ellis Island for Jewish Immigration

March 26, 2017
By Rich Tenorio
Source: The Times of Israel
Photo: Galveston Historical Foundation

It was an unlikely premise, Jews escaping the pogroms of Tsarist Russia for a safe haven in Texas. Yet from 1907 to 1914, the "Galveston Movement" brought 10,000 Jews to the US—not through Ellis Island, but through Galveston Island and its eponymous port on the Gulf of Mexico.

[Read article]

A Texas-Size Collection Outside Houston

March 18, 2017
By Willard Spiegelman
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Photo: The Bryan Musem

To attempt to present the story of a place, a people, or a culture through a display of art and artifacts is, at best, a risky proposition. One is grateful for the effort, even when the results are incomplete or spotty. Galveston's Bryan Museum tells, in fact, three stories: of a man, a building and a region.

[Read article]

Two Awards Announced by TTIA

March 16, 2017

In a communication on March 13, 2017 from Bob Phillips, Study Tour Coordinator for the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA), we learned that The Bryan Museum has been chosen as "the BEST" in the category of "Best Attraction" by the Texas Travel Counselors during their five-day Study Tour of the Upper Coastal Texas Region September 18-23, 2016. In addition, Rebecca Diaz-Arrastia, Docent Coordinator at The Bryan Museum, has been selected for the "Best Attraction/​Museum Guide" award. Very exciting!

The TTIA sponsored this 41st annual tour. According to Phillips, the tour passed through twelve cities, ate at fourteen restaurants, and visited thirty-six attractions.

Both awards are slated to be presented at the Texas Travel Counselors Conference in Amarillo on April 11, 2017 during the Stars of Texas Awards Dinner at the Amarillo Civic Center. Joan Henderson, Director of the Texas Department of Transportation Travel Information Division, will be presenting the awards on behalf of TTIA.

Texas Treasures From the Bryan Museum Now in Austin

March 8, 2017
By Michael Barnes
Source: Austin-American Statesman
Photo: Bullock Texas State History Museum

You won't find the Bryan Museum in Bryan, Texas. Or in the abutting city of College Station, for that matter.

[Read article]

New Bryan Museum Curator Focusing on Promotion, Education

March 6, 2017
By Samantha Ketterer
Source: The Daily News
Photo: Jennifer Reynolds, The Daily News

Nathan Jones never thought he'd stay in the Lone Star State after he graduated from college. Now, he's a curator at the Bryan Museum, a Galveston-based gallery devoted to all things Texas.

[Read article]

Galveston Reads Musical Event at The Bryan Museum

February 22, 2017

On February 20, 2017, Galveston Reads sponsored a special musical event in The Bryan Museum's Conservatory as a complement to its 2017 Book Choice, The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell. This special event marked an important collaboration with the Rosenberg Library to provide free cultural events to our community.

Local musician Sparky Koerner and his Jazz Express entertained guests with ensemble music popular during World War II. With seventy-six guests in attendance—reported by Galveston Reads to be its largest turn-out yet—the concert was deemed a great success.

In cooperation with the Rosenberg Library, Galveston Reads is a "One City, One Book" project that encourages everyone in town to read and discuss the same book. For more information, please call Idalia Avezuela, Galveston Reads Chair, at (409) 763‑8854, ext. 137.

Take a Trip Back to the Wild West at The Bryan Museum

February 16, 2017
By Cool Spaces
Source: ABC 13/KTRK TV Houston

The Bryan Museum houses one of the world's largest collections of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to Texas and the American West.

[Read more | Watch video]

J.P. Bryan Named Grand Marshal of Momus Parade

February 14, 2017
By Samantha Ketterer
Source: The Daily News
Photo: Stuart Villanueva, The Daily News

J.P. Bryan, founder of the Bryan Museum, will celebrate his first Galveston Mardi Gras as grand marshal of the event's largest parade.

[Read article]

"Traces of Spain" Talk at The Grace Museum

February 10, 2017

Dr. Jamie Christy, Executive Director of The Bryan Museum, was invited by The Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas to give a talk as part of its Scholar Speaker Series. Lectures in the new speaker series relate to The Grace Museum's exhibit "Spanish Texas: Legend & Legacy," to which The Bryan Museum loaned a number of pieces, including art by José Arpa, José Cisneros, and Porfirio Salinas. Dr. Christy's talk, entitled "Traces of Spain: The Multicultural Art of Texas," was presented on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Listen to the full lecture here.

ABC 13 Visits The Bryan Museum

February 10, 2017

On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, Houston's ABC affiliate Channel 13 was on location at The Bryan Museum to videotape an upcoming episode of its series Cool Spaces. Both founder J.P. Bryan and curator Nathan Jones were interviewed for the segment, which we understand is set to air the first week of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras 2017 runs February 17-28 so check your local listings and be sure to tune in!

The Bryan Museum Speaker Series Debuts

February 7, 2017

On February 2, 2017, The Bryan Museum hosted Dr. Mariola Espinosa to mark the opening of two new special exhibits, Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island and The "Stranger's Disease": Experiencing Yellow Fever in Galveston, 1837-1897, with a lecture entitled Quarantines and Cubans: Yellow Fever in Galveston and Across the Gulf in the Late 19th Century. Dr. Espinosa's talk also marked the debut of The Bryan Museum Speaker Series, a new and ongoing lecture program.

Co-hosted by UTMB's Institute for the Medical Humanities and coinciding with The Bryan Museum's monthly Wine in The Bryan Gardens happy hour, the event was attended by well over 100 people. Following the lecture and a lively question-and-answer period, guests enjoyed music and refreshments and were then welcomed into the Museum's special exhibit gallery to view the new exhibits through the lens of Dr. Espinosa's insights.

Dr. Heather Wooten, Adjunct Professor, History of Medicine, at IMH and co-curator of The "Stranger's Disease" exhibit, expressed her appreciation to The Bryan Museum for hosting this event: "Although a more formal 'Thank You' is forthcoming, I want to express on behalf of the IMH our deepest appreciation for your exceptional efforts yesterday evening. We are delighted [with] this initial collaboration with the Bryan Museum and look forward to future ones."

The Speaker Series will continue in the months of March and April. On March 9, Rabbi James Kessler from B'nai Israel will speak on the efforts of Rabbi Henry Cohen to aid immigrants. On April 20, Dr. Mylynka Kilgore Cardona of the Texas General Land Office will share insights into the methods employed to entice immigrants to Texas in the nineteenth century.

Don't Miss The Bryan Museum

February 3, 2017
By Gene Krane, THF Executive Director
Source: Texas Historical Foundation
Photo: Texas Historical Foundation

With the holidays over, I was finally able to make it to Galveston's Bryan Museum. One of the city's newest historical attractions, the museum is located in the 1895 Galveston Orphans Home, an architectural masterpiece on its own.

[Read article]

The Grace Museum Introduces a New Speaker Series

January 26, 2017
By Janet Van Vleet
Source: Abilene Reporter-News
Photo: Nellie Doneva

Tom and Lisa Perini will kick off The Grace Museum's Scholar Speaker Series with a talk on Spanish influence on Texas food.... On Feb. 9, Jamie Christy, executive director of the Bryan Museum in Galveston, will speak on "Traces of Spain: The Multicultural Art of Texas."

[Read article]

36 Hours in Galveston, Tex.

January 19, 2017
By Jeannie Ralston
Source: The New York Times
Photo: Jack Thompson for The New York Times

Though it's now known mostly as a frothy beach resort, this port city, population 49,000, has more character than most flip-flop playgrounds.

[Read article]

The Bryan Museum Wins "Best Museum" of 2016

January 3, 2017

After weeks of nominations and tens of thousands of votes, we at are thrilled to present the Winners of the 2016 BEST OF GALVESTON AWARDS, "the Oscars of the Gulf Coast" according to The Houston Chronicle.

[Read article]

The Bryan Museum Got a Holiday Gift!

January 1, 2017

And you're looking at it!

Welcome to The Bryan Museum's new website! We are very excited to present our beautifully redesigned, reorganized, and enhanced website, and we hope you will be excited about it, too.

Over the past many months, we've been working hard behind the scenes to design and build a sleeker, faster, more robust Web presence, all with you in mind. Developed in-house from the ground up, the new Bryan Museum website is more than just a pretty face. Built for modern Web browsers, tablets, and smartphones, the new site features improved responsiveness, streamlined navigation, a pleasing new color palette (inspired by a favorite painting in our own Rest of the West Gallery), and, best of all, new features and functionality, with more to come as the new year progresses.

We invite you to spend some time exploring the new site. When you do, you will discover, for example, a greatly expanded Exhibitions section. Noteworthy is the new Permanent Exhibits section, which features a sampling of the art and artifacts in each of our permanent galleries, along with a short history summarizing the compelling stories told there. Another major addition is the enhanced Events section, which introduces new venue and beverage/​bar packages for weddings and rehearsal dinners and for corporate and private events, all designed to make your decisions easier when planning your own event at The Bryan Museum. But we're just getting started, with plans already in the works for additional features to be rolled out in 2017.

So what do you think of the new Bryan Museum website? What do you like? What could we improve upon? We want to hear from you! Please take a moment to share your thoughts and comments with Melinda Cote, Web Developer at The Bryan Museum. Your feedback is important to us.

And now, enjoy the new Bryan Museum website!

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