Collectors’ Gallery opens at the Bullock

Spotlight on J. P. Bryan Collection

DECEMBER 20, 2016 (AUSTIN, TX) — Unique artifacts from some of the most prolific collectors in the state will now be on view at the Bullock Texas State History Museum with the opening of a new Collectors' Gallery at the downtown Austin museum. While private collectors are rarely in the spotlight, their collections often highlight the most prominent Texans and are integral to the preservation of Texas’s history. The new gallery allows the museum to display exceptional artifacts and share with the public some of the finest treasures in the state.

"This is our opportunity to show the critical role private collectors play in preserving Texas history and to share these significant artifacts with the public," Bullock Museum Director Victoria Ramirez said. "We want to acknowledge that collectors have gone to surprising lengths to preserve Texas history."

The museum wanted a remarkable collection to feature for the gallery launch and chose to highlight the collection of J. P. Bryan, founder and chairman of Torch Energy Advisors and avid collector of significant Texas artifacts.

The Bryan Collection is one of the world’s largest collections of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to Texas and the American West. It spans more than 12,000 years, from ancient Native American cultural artifacts to pieces from the 21st century. With approximately 70,000 items in total, the collection includes 20,000 rare books, more than 30,000 documents in Spanish, German, French and English, three dozen saddles, more than 250 antique firearms, several hundred spurs, exceedingly rare maps, the works of Texas craftsmen, and a large collection of artworks.

"The artifacts on display were chosen to represent the scope of Mr. Bryan’s collection," Ramirez said. "They offer a glimpse into his collecting interests and his deliberate effort to document the history of Texas and the American West to its fullest extent."

At the Bullock Museum, visitors can see selections from the Bryan Collection, including a rare 18th-century Spanish Colonial painted trunk, a Bowie knife (made popular by Alamo defender James Bowie), a Republic of Texas dragoon sword and shako helmet, and an American Indian beaded vest and leggings. A selection from an extensive collection of spurs dating from the 1600s forward is on display and shows styles from different centuries, various countries, and from a variety of spur makers. Remarkable artwork by Thomas Allen, Joseph Henry Sharp, Frank Reaugh and other artists round out the gallery.

J. P. Bryan himself has a strong connection to Texas history —Stephen F. Austin’s sister, Emily Austin Perry, is his fifth-great aunt. But his lifelong dedication to historical preservation sets him apart. He has served on the advisory board for the Brazoria County Historical Museum; as chairman of the board for the Institute of Texan Cultures; as president of both the Texas Historical Foundation and the Texas State Historical Association; and was appointed as a commissioner for the Texas Historical Commission.

Bryan spent two decades restoring the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas, and recently completed restoration of that town’s oldest building. In 2013, he purchased the Galveston Orphans Home in Galveston, which has been restored and now houses The Bryan Museum. Earlier this year, the museum received the Texas Historical Commission’s John L. Nau, III Award of Excellence in Museums in September of 2016.

The new Collectors’ Gallery at the Bullock Museum will feature the Bryan Collection through June 25, 2017, and will feature a rotation of artifacts from exceptional collections in Texas. Details at TheStoryofTexas.com.

Support for the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and education programs provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.

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The Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin includes three floors of exhibitions, an IMAX® theater, a special-effects theater, café and museum store. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and produce exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. Named for the state's 38th Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock, the iconic building is at 1800 N. Congress Avenue. For more, visit TheStoryofTexas.com or call (512) 936-8746.

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This press release is part of the The Bullock Texas State History Museum Media Kit

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is the state's official history museum and features three floors of Texas History Galleries with artifacts that span more than 13,000 years, as well as an IMAX® Theatre, a special-effects theater, convenient on-site parking, a café and Museum Store. Located in Austin, the Museum welcomes 450,000 visitors each year. Since 2001, more than 7 million visitors have been immersed in the stories of Texas, connecting historical relevance to a contemporary world. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and host exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. View Media Kit