About the Museum of Houston

The Museum of Houston is an online presence for archival materials and exhibits featuring aspects of Houston history. It has been funded by the Houston Endowment and supported and developed by the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and Rice University. Archival content has been contributed by the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (Houston Public Library), the McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center (Houston Academy of Medicine / Texas Medical Center), Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas Southern University, the Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park, University of Houston and Rice University, as well as individual contributors.

Preservation Houston (then Greater Houston Preservation Alliance), with support from Houston Endowment Inc., JPMorgan Chase, Rice University and the Herzstein Foundation, began project planning for the Museum of Houston in 2005. Since then, more than 500 photographs and historic documents have been added to the museum’s repository, and digitization efforts from partner institutions have made thousands of other resources available.

The initial Museum of Houston repository is available to search or browse online, and interactive online exhibits are being developed based on those and other materials to highlight various aspects of Houston's history. Among them are:

  • Houston Deco, an online survey of more than 100 modernistic buildings in Houston and Southeast Texas, a region with a rich but often overlooked Art Deco design heritage. The Houston Deco website is a companion to the book Houston Deco by Preservation Houston staff members David Bush and Jim Parsons.
     
  • Tall, Taller, Tallest, an interactive look at the Houston skyline's race skyward. With historic photos and accompanying text, the exhibit tells the story of how Houston's skyscrapers influenced architecture and engineering worldwide. (This exhibit is under development.)
     
  • For the Record, which will tell the stories of the careers of prominent Houston attorneys in their own words. The exhibit is built around a series of videotaped interviews; originally the attorneys profiled are Rusty Hardin, Craig Washington, Diana Marshall, Richard "Racehorse" Haynes and Percy Foreman. (This exhibit is under development.)
     
  • A digitization of the six-volume Houston Architectural Survey of 300 historically and architecturally significant structures originally completed in 1980. The 1,500-page survey includes information on many of Houston's most important historic structures as well as many lesser-known buildings, several of which have been altered or demolished in the three decades since the initial survey work was done. The first phase of the exhibit will involve making a searchable version of the survey available online, with later phases targeted at updating and expanding the work. (This exhibit is under development.)