This Texas History museum, once the Galveston Orphan’s Home, tells the story of the
settlement of the west through its permanent collection of over 70,000 artifacts.
Visitors are amazed to see items on display like Stephen F. Austin’s calling card and personal dictionary, Cabeza De Vaca’s
Journal, the sword that captured Santa Anna, and the original Borden Map of Houston that once
belonged to Sam Houston. What keeps Houston visitors coming back for more are the special exhibits
that rotate each season, reminding all of us that there is a chance to learn about the unique history of
Texas in some of the most unexpected places.
Mardi Gras Exhibition
Each year The Bryan Museum honors the exciting history of Galveston’s Mardi Gras through an ode to
the celebration’s phenomenal fashion and art. The sparkling costumes and capes worn by revelers
during Mardi Gras season bathe the parties and parades in a dazzling wash of color. With the
third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, Galveston has a rich history of tradition. Mardi Gras:
Party by Design is The Bryan Museum’s third annual Mardi Gras exhibition focusing on the people who
conceived and created these extravagant looks.
Costumes in the exhibit span from 1938 through the present day, and each piece connects to a notable
designer or Galveston Mardi Gras community group. The oldest items are on loan from the Rosenberg
Library and the Galveston County Museum. These historical costumes and sketches were originally
commissioned by Galveston families for Mardi Gras balls. All but one of the sketches on display were
created in the costume and clothing design studio of French-born Emile Robin and his
brother Marcel who trained at the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris before moving to Texas.
In the 1980s George Mitchell spearheaded the resurgence of the Mardi Gras celebrations to the Island.
Under the creative influence of Islander Dancie Ware, Mardi Gras revival items from the 1980s include a
mural image and photos from the 1988 Carnevale Di Venezia themed celebration.
More recent designs are by notable Galveston costume and clothing designer Danny Lee Morgan who,
after retiring from a career in the film and television industry, opened a costume shop in Galveston and
began making stunning garments for Halloween, Dickens on The Strand, weddings, proms, and, of
course, Mardi Gras. “Mr. Mardi Gras,” as he was called, also made extravagant headdresses, three of
which are on display in the exhibit.
Four sparkling trains in jewel tones and covered in rhinestones and sequins adorn one wall of the
exhibit. Each was made by Galveston seamstress extraordinaire Jo Daily for Treasure Ball. The trains are
over 6’ long and decorated to match a yearly theme such a “Galaxy” or “Texas Wildlife.”
Mardi Gras: Party by Design will be on display until March 26.
While at the museum, guests can stroll through the beautiful, outdoor gardens and butterfly sanctuary.
The ground floor has an interactive pirates cave and ship inside the children’s area.
For art lovers, be sure to visit the Texas Masters Gallery on the top floor.
With so much to offer, The Bryan Museum brings history to life for all ages!