Collectors' Gallery

Collections from private collectors in Texas

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Private collectors are integral to the preservation of history. Their dedication to collecting historical maps, documents, artifacts, and works of art ensures that the material evidence of the past is safeguarded for future generations. The Collectors' Gallery showcases the passion behind privately owned collections in Texas, featuring some of the finest treasures in the state.

The Nau Civil War Collection, owned by John L. Nau, III of Houston, Texas, is one of the largest private collections of Civil War documents, photographs, weapons, and artifacts in the country. The collection contains items related to all aspects of the war, Union and Confederate. Mr. Nau has been interested in the Civil War since childhood and began collecting at an early age. Over the past 15 years, he expanded the collection significantly as he became more interested in the personal stories of soldiers and preserving these pieces of the past for future generations.

Mr. Nau hopes to spark interest in the Civil War and United States history by drawing attention to the physical objects used by American soldiers, Union and Confederate, whose actions, successes, and failures determined the future of this country. He believes that by engaging with period artifacts, visitors to his collection will feel a bond with the Americans that came before them and will be motivated to learn more about the issues for which they were willing to sacrifice their lives. Mr. Nau is a tireless champion for historic preservation and promoting the study of history. He is the Chairman of the Texas Historical Commission and previously served as president of the Texas State Historical Association, chairman of the Civil War Trust, and chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Select Artifacts On View in the Exhibition

Past Installations

The Bryan Collection: November 25, 2016 to June 25, 2017

The Bryan Collection, owned by J. P. Bryan, 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, over 250 antique firearms, several hundred spurs, exceedingly rare maps, the works of Texas craftsmen, and a large collection of fine art, religious art, and folk art.

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