In late July 2013, J.P. Bryan Jr. and an associate, Jamie Christy, were dejectedly leaving Galveston. They had given up finding a building suitable to house Bryan’s vast, prestigious collection of historical artifacts and art about the American Southwest. A downtown building they had toured was too small and susceptible to flooding.
The two were on Broadway headed back to Houston when another associate, with whom they were speaking by phone, mentioned that a “creepy,” vacant building at 1315 21st St. was on the market.
On a whim, Bryan and Christy turned onto 21st Street to check out a place known as the Galveston Orphans Home. They didn’t see creepy in the stolid, brown brick building. They saw longleaf pine floors, brick fireplaces, paneled walls and huge open spaces; they saw the perfect home for Mary Jon and J.P. Bryan’s Visions of the West Collection. And so a beloved building with a rich history in Galveston was restored with a new purpose. In June, The Bryan Museum, with 70,000 items, including exquisite saddles, spurs, antique firearms, rare maps and books, fine art and more, celebrated its first anniversary.
Transforming a vacant orphanage into a museum — while preserving the building’s character and honoring the memories of the children who had called it home — took intense vision.
This issue celebrates such vision, the kind that improves a city, a community and its children, an ecosystem or mankind. In these pages, you’ll meet just a few visionaries we call Texas Stars.
While their areas of focus vary widely, our Texas Stars share a desire to make life on the upper Texas Coast better, and a lot more interesting.