What do you think of when you hear the word “museum?”

An old building, poorly lit, and full of old, dusty, boring things. Well, maybe not that bad, but close.

The Texas City Museum isn’t that. And it’s getting better all the time, according to its director, Amanda Vance.

Vance spoke to members of the Texas City Civic Club recently about new plans for the museum, which has grown and prospered during the last few years, thanks to lots of professional and volunteer help, and quite a big sum of money invested therein.

From its reopening following a massive makeover, the museum has catered not only to adults interested in our fair city, but to little children who enjoy playing games, which involve such things as archeology.

To explain, there’s a place where they can unearth bones.

Now the museum has plans for projects to involve older children.

The museum, among many exhibits, tells the history of early aviation, when flyers of some of the very first airplanes where quartered at an army base near where the Texas City Dike now lives.

A big part of Texas City was begun by the railroads that came here, and children and their parents can visit the miniature railroads, which operate upstairs at the museum every Saturday.

The Port of Texas City is the heartbeat of industry here, and there are many nautical exhibits, especially remnants of a union warship which was sunk in, and recovered from, the waters off Texas City.

Its cannon is a prized possession of our museum.

The museum is now involved with the project involving Freedman’s Colony, a settlement of the black cowboys who bought homes and built a prosperous community in the northwest part of the city. That settlement is now on the historic tours of Texas City.

If you’ve been around as long as I have, you will remember the early museum beginnings in an old Sixth Street building down the blocks from the present location.

You’ll remember the hard work of people like Ken DeMaet and Margaret Tuma, who organized a committee and all kinds of celebratory dinners to raise funds. There were audible and silent auctions, which helped to eventually get the museum to its lofty special place.

I can vividly remember checking the bid sheet every few minutes at one auction to make sure I got the shrimp boat painting I wanted. Mayor Chuck Doyle, who was bidding against me, had to leave the party.

That painting is now hanging on my wall.

You may also remember the owner of the Penny’s building, who donated that building to the good cause.

There’s a mystery I need to have solved.

During the celebration of the city’s 100th birthday, a big committee of us worked on banners representing each of the decades.

They were supposed to spend their lives, after the celebration, at a special place in the museum.

They’re not there. Where are they? Somebody needs to find them and bring them home.

And let me know.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at cathy.gillentine@comcast.net.

(1) comment

Jose' Boix

Re: "During the celebration of the city’s 100th birthday, a big committee of us worked on banners representing each of the decades. They were supposed to spend their lives, after the celebration, at a special place in the museum."
As one of the Centennial Decade teams, I agree, we need to find them and bring them home.

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