Old and new residents alike can appreciate local history at the Fort Bend County Museum, which features a gallery of Texas history and two homes from the pre-Civil War and Edwardian eras.
The museum, located at 500 Houston St., is part of a larger Fort Bend County Museum Association, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“One challenge, like all history museums, particularly historic house museums, is relevancy to modern times,” said Shereen Sampson, the museum’s site director. “It’s not stuffy. There’s vibrancy to our museum. We try to keep it fresh. We try to keep it interesting and motivating and diverse.”
According to both Claire Rogers, Fort Bend Museum Association executive director, and Sampson, the museum’s most iconic portion is the 1883 Moore Home, which belonged to U.S. Rep. John Moore and his family.
In June 1971, the museum’s founders gathered to dedicate flag poles to former Gov. Pat Neff.[/caption]
When newlyweds Moore and Lottie Dyer, a land and cattle-rich descendant of some of Stephen F. Austin’s original 300 settlers, purchased the land, the family was already nearing upper class. The family only rose in prominence once Moore Sr. served in state and national elected offices.
In 1975, Moore’s son by the same name donated the property to the museum association.
“What’s wonderful about our museum is that it gives people a glimpse of what not only the Moore family lived like around the turn of the last century but how a lot of people in Richmond lived,” Sampson said.
In the 1980s, the second floor of the Moore home was renovated to provide classroom space for visiting school groups. Now, the floor has ceded some classroom space into restored bedrooms, but the museum gallery area, at 2,000 square feet, still needs more space.
“Our goal was to showcase at least 100 years of Fort Bend County history,” Rogers said. “In the space we have in our current building, that’s just not possible.”
The museum association also runs vital programs at the George Ranch Historical Park, such as Texian Market Days, a two-day event held each fall at the park.
“It’s a living history park, and that’s something unique in this part of Texas or even in the U.S.,” Rogers said. “When you think of living history parks, you think of colonial Williamsburg, or Jamestown or Plymouth. Here in Texas? You’ve got the George Ranch Historical Park.”