Sunday, January 27, 2013

Longhorn overdue

I have to admit that, several years back when I first heard about the Butler Longhorn Museum, League City's very own museum devoted to cattle, my response was, "Do what?!  They made an entire museum about what?!"  I realized that Texas longhorns have a place in history, but a museum?  I enjoy history, but so narrowly focussed? 

And then the other bizarre part of our personal story with respect to it: despite having lived on Coryell Street during the house search that eventually led us to build in Centerpointe, we never saw the inside of the museum prior to yesterday. 
Curiosity at 1220 Coryell Street: one of my own art shots from 2009, an eerie view of a museum shrouded in fog, a museum that mostly seemed to be shrouded in mystery.  It wasn't open to the public in those years when we lived within spittin' distance of it. Or it was open for a time, but only for a few hours each week.  Or nobody really knew if it was open or whether it would be open in the future.  The whole thing was very complicated. 
  Even as of January 2013 on one of their webpages, it still says "the Museum is currently available by appointment for tours".  In fact, that longer  seems to be the case, as it's contradicted by another webpage from which the screengrab above was taken. They do seem to have regular public hours now. At least for the moment.  But you should confirm this before you go. 
The whole thing was very complicated because of the tortuous circumstances surrounding the birth of the museum, a dysfunctional process involving funding uncertainty, the previous curator's contentious resignation, and at least one lawsuit (one or more of those links may be paywalled). 
But here's the bottom line on ButlerThis place is so worth it.  It's not just about cattle.  It's about the history of Texas itself. 
And it's about our local history.  Believe it or not, we actually have a local history.  Not just in the "Ye Olde Touriste Trappe" sense whereby a few lame facts are hyped for the purposes of drawing admission fees to some display.  No.  All this stuff is actually worth knowing about.   It's interesting. 
The cattle were merely the four-footed vehicle through which a big part of our unique history was realized. 
There's a retail goods consumer outlet, and I forget which one, that used to have as their TV commercial slogan a statement along the lines of, "Once you go, you get it."  Same idea applies to this museum. 
Here's the ultimate endorsement for Butler Longhorn Museum:  My teenager loved it.  Really enjoyed our visit yesterday.  This is the same kid who usually has to be disengaged from Facebook and Angry Birds using nothing short of a stick of dynamite. 
These are just a couple of crappy cell phone pics that I'm adding to this post (I did look around first, and I saw no signs prohibiting crappy cell phone photography).  My pics don't do the museum justice.  The whole place is very artistic and creatively put together. 
Life is short, and nonprofit institutions exist in a tenuous and often fleeting relationship with the balance of our socioeconomic reality.  Go and see the Butler Longhorn Museum - you won't regret your admission fees.  And keep your ear to the ground for special events that get scheduled there, because the current museum Director is reportedly trying to put an emphasis on that kind of value-added public involvement.  The museum's online calendar is not necessarily being updated regularly, but there are often announcements in the local news media (plus the occasional bandit sign). 
And in my case, as Arnie once famously said, "I'll be back." 

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