From Orphanage to Museum – Touring the Bryan Museum in Galveston.
Walking up to The Bryan Museum in Galveston, TX, you will find a beautiful oasis full of century oaks, their branches loaded with ferns that instantly transport you to a time far away. In the middle of the yard stands a glass conservatory, glowing in the same green color as the ferns and surrounding landscaping. It makes you want to gather your skirts, open your parasol and explore. You don’t have a parasol or layers of petticoats but don’t worry, step inside the building that once served as one of Galveston’s orphanages, and you’ll be on your magic carpet ride through the history of Texas.
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The Bryan Museum In Galveston
The Bryan Museum is now located in the building that used to be The Galveston’s Orphan Home. Built in 1895 and serving as an orphanage until the early 1980s, the home has seen the best and worst years in the history of Galveston, including substantial damage from the hurricane in 1900 that leveled the island.
Now when you walk in the front door, you’ll find a refurbished building that still holds the original charm yet is now steeped in Texas History.
You might also find the owner, J.P. Bryan, and his dog, Chalk, sitting in the foyer or walking through the home.
The first floor of the home holds collections that tell the history of Texas. There’s an old mortar and pestle from long before Texas was settled, an impressive replica ship, and items that tell about the early discovery of a land that would become known as Texas.
A short walk to another room teaches you about the German settlers that traveled to Texas and showcase a huge diorama of one of the battles for Texas Independence.
The Bryan Museum Keeps On Going
The museum goes on to take you on a walk through the settlement of the west, filled with old saddles and items that you won’t find anywhere else, such as an Assassin’s Case that had a shotgun on one side and a metal violin filled with gun powder on the other.
Upstairs at The Bryan Museum, you’ll find an art gallery that includes prints from Andy Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians series.
The artworks featured in the upstairs gallery are by Texas Masters. It shows the history of Texas from the perspective of the most respected artists from Texas.
Go down another flight of stairs into the basement of The Bryan Museum, and you’ll find a hidden gem. It’s a case that holds items found from The Galveston Orphan’s Home. Items were found during the renovation of the building. Marbles, old spoons, and a tin toy show life for kids at the turn of the century. Under the stairs is a little hole where the kids used to hide and use as a fort.
If time allows, find an area transformed into a hidden grotto and undersea world for modern-era kids. Then you can learn about the history of Galveston at the same time.
There’s something at The Bryan Museum for all ages.