History museum to reopen Thursday after weekend 'sneak peak'

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Jayne Johnson, an artist and print-maker from North Carolina, operates the Brown County Museum of History's nearly-century-old printing press during the 'Great SneaK Peak' Saturday afternoon at the museum.

After hosting a successful "Great Sneak Peak" Saturday, the Brown County Museum of History opens its doors for regular hours for the first time in 14 months Thursday morning.

The museum, which closed in March 2020 because of COVID, has undergone a renovation while closed that has brought in numerous new exhibits. The museum will have a grand reopening and ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

After its Thursday reopening, the museum  — at 212 N. Broadway in Brownwood — will begin keeping its pre-COVID hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The "Great Sneak Peak" was not only a chance to show off the museum's new look but also also served as a fundraiser. The event included actors from the Lyric Theatre community who portrayed historical characters.

“It was a wonderful turnout in spite of the rainy weather," said Beverly Norris, who is vice president of the museum's board of directors and event coordinator.  "It was a great family day and everyone was so excited to see the new interior of the museum and the new exhibits.”

The improvements at the museum include LED lighting, repairs and new paint on the ceiling and a carpeted pathway through part of the museum.renovations.

The improvements were 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.

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" by being 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