Today it is home to the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, but the stately brick building at 13016 University Blvd., situated on a sweeping piece of Sugar Land pasture, was once part of the Central State Prison Farm managed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Nicknamed "Two Camp" by residents and staff for its official name of Central State Prison Farm No. 2, the main building of the prison was built in 1939 and served as a segregated dormitory for African American inmates. It also housed administrative offices, solitary confinement cells, laundry facilities, a school house, dining hall, kitchen, infirmary, theater and stage. The facility was managed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice until closing in the late 1960s.

HMNS at Sugar Land docent and resident expert on the building Denise Norra said the idea behind Sugar Land prisons was for the inmates to do something productive for society both as punishment and rehabilitation.

"It made sense to have prison farms," she said. "There wasn't a rehabilitation program to introduce them back to the community. You just spent your time working on the farm."

Norra said the farms were intended to be self-supporting for the rest of the prison farms in the area by growing sugar cane, cotton and garden crops as well as raising livestock like cattle and pigs. The products produced by area prison farms were distributed to the Richmond State School as well as other nearby prisons.

Two Camp was operational until 1968 when it was turned into a warehouse for more than 20 years. In 2009, The Houston Museum of Natural Science acquired the property and transformed it into a Sugar Land branch museum.

HMNS at Sugar Land has dedicated an area of the repurposed building for a mural, featuring pictures and maps of what the prison dormitory used to look like and the history preserved inside draws Sugar Land residents and visitors alike, Norra said.