Something old, something new as Brown County Museum of History prepares to reopen

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
This collection of old manual typewriters will be part of the new banks and business exhibit when the Brown County Museum of History reopens next month.
Beverly Norris

Whether you’re a return visitor or a first-time visitor to the Brown County Museum of History, you’ll be in for a treat when the renovated museum reopens next month after closing in March 2020 due to COVID.

The museum, at 212 N. Broadway in Brownwood, will have new exhibits as well as updates to existing exhibits.

An open house fundraiser billed as The Great Sneak Peak” will be from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22. The cost to attend is $10. Tickets are available at:


• Early Visitors Center

• Lehnis Railroad Museum

• Wendlee Broadcasting.

On Thursday, May 27, the museum will have a grand reopening and will be resume its pre-COVID schedule of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Improvements to the museum include new LED lighting, repairs and new paint on the ceiling and a carpeted pathway through part of the museum.

The renovations are made possible by state grants as well as local grants including the Arts Council of Brownwood, Brownwood Women’s Club, the Col. Burns Ranch and the Harriet Gulley Foundation, and assistance from the county and the City of Brownwood.

“The time down has been well used,” said Beverly Norris, exhibit coordinator and vice president of the Museum of History board of directors.

“We are tremendously excited. We’ve had so many volunteers and workmen in and out. It’s hard to tell people they’ve got to wait.”

Norris said every exhibit in both of the museum’s buildings — which includes the Old Jail across the street from the main museum — “has been touched in some way — improved, enhanced or is a totally new exhibit.”

Exhibits in the main building include:

• Native Americans: the first people of Brown County

• Guns of the frontier

• 1800’s log cabin

• Barbed wire and fence cutting wars

• Pioneer life on the Texas frontier

• The land we love: ranching in Brown County

• First black school

• Printing press from 1920

• Medical history of the early 19th century

• All that jazz: Radios and pianos of the 1920s and ‘30s

• The kid’s zone: hands-on activities for all ages

• Miniature circus

• Paleontology and amazing fossils of Brown County

• World War II and Camp Bowie

• Mural from Camp Bowie and the German P.O.W.s, currently being restored

• 1950s and ‘60s: how the world changed after World War II

• Mr. Mallouf’s boot shop — maker of find hand-made boots

• Brownwood booms: banks and business

• When the men were gone: the true story of Tylene Wilson, woman football coach

Exhibits in the Old Jail include:

• Sheriff’s family living quarters

• Pioneer peace officers

• Forensics room (opening in the fall of 2021)

• Bootleggers and prohibition

• Original 1930s jail cells

• To be exhibited: architectural details of the old jail

Upcoming events:

• Young Writers Workshop, led by author Marjorie Herrera Lewis, will be June 28-30

• Dino Dig: Fossils and Paleontology, a three-day min-camp. The date has not been set.

• All Around Brown County, an art show featuring paintings of Brown County landscapes by Christine Brisley, will be Sept. 17-18. Brisley is currently doing restoration work on the World War II-era mural.