With the return of a storm-damaged museum, students prepare for art show
Eighteen months after Hurricane Harvey flooded the Butler Longhorn Museum in League City, it finally in January reopened its doors and gave the public a Texas-size dose of longhorns, cattle, western art and artifacts.
“It has been a really disappointing time,” said executive director Monica Hughes, explaining that the first floor of the museum was ruined and the adjacent education building was under 6 feet of water. “Hurricane Harvey did so much damage.”
The storm destroyed large, Western-themed murals on the walls, as well as the theater and entry.
But the storm is part of the museum’s history, as it prepares for its first big art show and public event.
The museum has partnered with Lutheran South Academy’s art department to display and sell a variety of student Western-themed art, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics. Besides the show of talent, the event will be a learning experience for the students, Hughes said.
“They will prepare for the opening — invitations, hanging the art, marketing the event and selling their pieces,” she said. “I believe in the creativity of children and this is how they can express themselves. Through their artwork, we can see their creativity.”
About 35 students have prepared their projects and many of them are quite impressive, said Lutheran South Academy art teacher Lindsay Barckholtz.
“A lot of the kids said they couldn’t do this, that they never did art before,” Barckholtz said. “But they all did the project and so many of them are really, really good. Having their work displayed in a museum setting will make it worthwhile to them, while giving them extra exposure.”
The Butler Longhorn Museum, an 8,000-square-foot, three-story building, is on a 10-acre spread that was once the home of Walter Hall, a banker and prominent civic leader in League City. The property was later purchased by the city of League City in 2002 and developed into a museum honoring the iconic longhorn cattle breed and the history of the city.
During the middle 19th century, League City was grassy pasturelands for herds and later a railroad shipping point for cattle between Houston and Galveston. The Butlers, who moved into the area in the 1850s, raised cattle and cows on their property.
George Washington Butler was 9 years old when his family arrived by ox-train from Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, bringing with them lumber to build their home, according to website butlerlonghorns.com.
Butler’s son, Milby, took an interest in the vanishing longhorns and began breeding the animals for their unusual horns and large bodies. He’s credited with saving the species from extinction.
The museum is vying for a spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for its inventory of longhorns. It’s home to 25 shoulder-mount longhorns of all varieties of the breed, as well as the million-dollar head of “Classic,” purchased in 1960 at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
As part of the reopening, the museum has scheduled a series of lectures about the Red River War on Feb. 7, 21 and 28, with local attorney Wayne Lynch as the guest lecturer.
Western Art Show
Butler Longhorn Museum and Lutheran South Academy art students, Feb. 23 to March 16