Friday, April 17, 2015

Rosenberg Library and Museum - 4/14/15

The Rosenberg Library was dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of patron, Henry Rosenberg (1824-1893). He was a merchant, baker, business leader, and philanthropist, who was born in Switzerland who arrived in Galveston in 1843. Childless, his will provided bequests to family and friends, followed by bequests to many charitable and religious causes. The remainder of his estate (more than $600k) provided for a free public library for the people of Galveston. Today it is the oldest public library in continuous operation in Texas.

The library has four floors:
  • 1st: Children's Department (with a blue-tongues skink [Australia] named Rose). 

  • 2nd: Adult Services
  • 3rd: Computer Lab and Young Adult Book
  • 4th: Museum Galleries and Galveston & Texas History Center (rare book collection)
The museum was the primary reason that we visited the library. It houses collections of historic artifacts and documents donated over the years by families and friends of Galveston. A climate-controlled room in the attic was built in 2011 to store much of the priceless artwork. There is a permanent gallery, three galleries of rotating exhibits, as well as artwork throughout the library.

The Lykes Gallery is the permanent exhibit: Galveston: Treasure Isle of the Gulf. There are cases with artifacts showcasing the history of Galveston as an important seaport and thriving community since the 1800s.

The beautiful stained glass window depicts the first ship used by Lykes Lines - The Doctor Lyke. The ship's steering wheel and bell are also on display in the gallery.

Two ship models are displayed in this exhibit. The model of the Star Republic (completed in 1912) has been on display since 1927. It is a barque ship built in 1884 in Portland, CT, for the Galveston trade market.  The S.S. Indian of the Leyland Line was built and launched in 1900 and continued to be in service until 1923. She was used with trade between Liverpool and London to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Hutchings Gallery was established following a large donation from the children of Sealy Hutchings and his wife, Mary Moody Hutchings, to create a memorial room in honor of their parents.  It has family portraits as well as exhibits of historical items of Galveston before the Civil War.

At the entrance to the Hallway Gallery is this cast bronze sculpture, Bog Rider, by Edward James Fraughan (20th century). Many commemorative pieces by this artist can be found in public locations.

Arts of the American Southwest is the current display in the Hallway Gallery.

Beginning in the 1920, William and Viola Pabst (Galvestonians), travelled in the southwest and fell in love with Native American art. Their extensive collection was acquired by the museum in 1968. Photos of some of the collection can be seen below.


Weavings and basketry.

Kachina dolls.

Be sure not to miss this beautiful stained glass sky light at the end of the Hallway Gallery. 

We saw this cute guy as we were leaving the grounds of the library.

There is no admission fee to the museum. It is well worth a quick stop to visit. The library is located across the street from the Galveston Visitor Center. We parked in the parking lot of the Visitor Center which was very convenient. We enjoyed learning about Henry Rosenberg and the many generous contributions he made to the Galveston community. The exhibits change as much of the collection of historical artifacts and artwork are in storage. Check out their website to learn what is on display when.


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