J.P. BRYAN OPENS MUSEUM TO HIGHLIGHT THE WORLD’S LARGEST COLLECTION OF ARTIFACTS AND ARTWORK RELATING TO THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES
FOR YEARS, J.P.
FOR YEARS, J.P.Bryan worked by his collection. As founder and CEO of Torch Energy Advisors Inc., Bryan and his colleagues were surrounded by items from the world’s largest, private trove of Texana, consisting of more than 50,000 pieces spanning 2,500 years and including artifacts, currency, books, firearms, religious art, historical documents, maps and paintings.
“Our office is a museum and we call our collection ‘Visions of the West,’” Bryan told The Intelligent Collector in 2011. “Every office in our building has a display of maps and paintings, and there’s a large area for viewing where we have guns and saddles, spurs and art.”
When Bryan, a former president of the Texas State Historical Association, recently decided to retire, he began searching for a new home for his collection. Housing the Mary Jon and J.P. Bryan Collection, the newly opened Bryan Museum bills itself as the largest collection of American Southwest art and artifacts in the United States.
Bryan, whose great-great-great grandfather, Moses Austin, founded the American lead industry and initiated the Anglo colonization of Texas, says he’s always felt he has a sacred charge to keep. “Collecting is a fairly selfish pursuit, frankly,” he tells the Associated Press. “But there is a point when you realize you can share it. That is far more gratifying than just going out and buying another gun or painting or document.”
The museum resides in the restored Galveston Orphan’s Home, and includes artifacts and documents found in the building and around the grounds during restoration. The children’s area of the museum features a fantasy ocean experience with murals depicting sea life, including a 3-D octopus. A walk-through interactive cave leads the way to Jean Lafitte’s ship and canon.
Video presentations reveal the history of the Port of Galveston viewed from cargo crates that serve as theater benches. Art classes and workshops provide educational project souvenirs.
The Bryan Museum (TheBryanMuseum.org) is located at 1315 21st St., in Galveston, Texas. Museum hours are Friday-Monday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. If your collection is on display, send information to Info@IntelligentCollector.com.