The Brownsville Historical Museum has a wonderful display to delight young and old and all those in between. Not only is this an outstanding museum, but each year for the Christmas Season they have a special exhibit of a miniature village. Filling stations, houses, stores and even a Starbucks will all be displayed in miniature.
The collection is so realistic that there is even a car being pushed out of the snow. True snow is very rare in the Rio Grande Valley, but it does happen every so often. And for sure, very few of us who live here year-round know how to drive on icy roads so we might all need a push. The display was donated to the museum by the Gloor Family upon the death of June Gloor who kept the village set up year-round in a special room in her home.
If you have never visited this museum now is the time. You will be able to review the history of Brownsville and a chance to see this miniature village. The museum also displays a pump organ from the mid 1700's. The Oblate Priests moved this organ by wagon from ranch to ranch as they visited the mission churches located on Highway 281. Even the engine of the small train that moved supplies and troops from Port Isabel to Fort Brown in Brownsville is on display. Years ago, when I first visited the museum, you were allowed to pull the whistle on the train. I suggest you check to see if this is still allowed.
Another interesting piece of antiquity is the telephone switchboard with all its incoming lines. Our modern cell phone users won't believe what they are looking at. Operating one of those switchboards was one of my first jobs when I was in college.
The museum is located at 641 E. Madison St., Brownsville. There is an entrance fee of $6 for Seniors and $4 for children 12 and under. Entry fee includes the Miniature Village. Hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with special hours on Sunday. Masks are required and social distancing will be practiced. For more information or to arrange a group narrated tour, call (956) 548-1313
In conjunction with the museum is the Old City Cemetery. All the Brownsville original settlers and those ranchers who had homes in Brownsville are buried in the Old Cemetery. This is another bit of history that can prove remarkably interesting especially if you wonder why the Kenedy plot moved all of the family other than one to the newer Buena Vista Cemetery. But that is a whole different story! An interesting book - Petra's Legacy - gives a little more insight into possible reasons why this lone member of the family was never re-interred.
And how are you doing on your New Year's Resolutions? Remember we were going to consider making a positive resolution instead of a negative one. Instead of giving up something, let's add something positive to our lives like the please and thank you and a hello to everyone we meet. Well, I think I have mine, but it is going to be a little more difficult, a little more time consuming than just the smile. But the reward will be just as great or greater...perhaps not for you nor for me, but definitely for the person who receives my positive resolution. Good luck as you resolve to add something positive to your life.