LEAGUE CITY — A quiet museum tucked into a neighborhood or a rowdy party space — those are the two conflicting views of League City’s Butler Longhorn Museum held by at least some of its neighbors.
The museum, located at 1220 Coryell St., is primarily meant to house artifacts from the city’s ranching and farming past and tell the story of the Butler Longhorns once raised in the area. But it also hosts historical or community events and, to help pay the bills, the museum can also be rented for events like weddings and parties.
It is those outdoor events and the noise that accompanies them that upset Gaylynne Wenzel.
She lives across the street from the museum, Wenzel recently told the city council, and to her, the sound of music and people at events at the museum is becoming a problem.
“When there is amplified music next door at the museum, we hear it in our home,” Wenzel said. “We cannot relax. We cannot sleep. We cannot watch TV over it.”
She and another neighbor, Steve Duncombe, recently went to the city council to voice their complaints about the noise and traffic that come along with events at the museum.
Wenzel played a recording from her cellphone of music and people talking and laughing that she said she recorded from the back door of her house.
“The museum concept was a wonderful concept,” she said. “It morphed — we don’t know how or when, we don’t know with whose permission — to an outdoor bar and club.”
She’s complained and talked to different people with the city, but Wenzel said she did not want to be that “crazy lady.”
“I’m not going to be that crazy woman on the corner who always complains,” she said. “I’m not going to be that one they start the rumors about.”
But museum President Bette Specion said the museum and its staff follow all the proper procedures.
“We are trying to do everything to work with our neighbors, and I would have to say that a majority of our neighbors are happy with us,” Specion said.
She said the museum hires security, obtains sound permits and has a sound meter to keep on top of the noise level. There were problems early on with traffic and parking, but she said the museum has worked it out with traffic cones, no parking signs and directing traffic to overflow parking.
Most of the events are in the afternoon, are family affairs and end by 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m., Specion said.
The museum gets rented out about twice a month, Specion said, and many of those happen indoors.
Not everyone on the block is upset with the museum.
Russell Hall said he has lived across the street from the museum for three years, and he’s never had an issue with the noise or traffic at the museum.
“They are a great neighbor,” Hall said.
He said he enjoys having the museum and park across the street and wants them to stay in business and stay profitable.
The city has also lent a hand in trying to keep the peace around the museum.
Specion said they’ve taken advice from the city and the police chief and have done things like moving outdoor events to the opposite side of the museum, away from Wenzel’s home, and have turned speakers to face away from the homes. Specion said they are also considering putting up a barrier to block the sound.
But the events and the music should not be a surprise to anyone who knows the museum’s history, Specion said. The business plan she presented to the city council in 2011 specified that renting out the museum would be one way the nonprofit would raise money.
“It would be very, very difficult (to make do without special events),” Specion said. “These events bring in the money that can sustain us.”