Museums in Tyler, Texas
PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett
Residents across Tyler support and appreciate local museums and galleries. That support has helped these cultural institutions thrive.
The Downtown Tyler Arts Coalition works with the Heart of Tyler to enlarge the arts scene in the city's center. The coalition manages Gallery Main Street, which offers free, rotating juried arts exhibits. The coalition also hosts Downtown Tyler Art Walks where artists can sell their work on the square and shoppers can enjoy listening to live music.
Gallery Main Street recently sent 600 canvases around the world to famous and not-so-famous artists as part of a fundraiser. Local residents and supporters were able to purchase a canvas for $20, and upon its return, they received a one-of-a-kind masterpiece – possibly by a famous artist – and the coalition received funding to keep offering unique art events and exhibits in its gallery.
The nearby Tyler Museum of Art works to instill an appreciation for fine art in its patrons, as well as making art accessible to everyone. The Tyler Museum of Art displays an annual high school art exhibition at the museum, in addition to world-class exhibitions that attract visitors from all over the state.
“This juried exhibition features works done by students from local high schools and has become a highly anticipated event throughout the community," says Caleb Bell, public relations and marketing coordinator at the museum.
While the art museum’s permanent collection continues to grow, Texas art has always been a focus. The museum also houses the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican Folk Art, which features more than 650 pieces.
During 2012, the American Freedom Museum in nearby Bullard has experienced an uptick in its number of visitors. Located on the campus of Brook Hill School, the museum is always a popular place for business and civic groups, as well as out-of-town guests.
“This special gallery features documents signed by every U.S. president from George Washington to Barack Obama along with biographical summaries and audiovisual enhancements,” says Jan Hommel, museum director.
Some of the particularly interesting items in the Hall of Presidents include a lock of George Washington’s hair, an original poem written by John Quincy Adams, a Senate tally sheet from Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial, and a letter of resignation signed by Richard Nixon. Beginning with Theodore Roosevelt, visitors can hear audio clips of any president they choose.
In addition to presidential history, the American Freedom Museum chronicles the country’s military history and honors American veterans.
“[The museum] lets our community honor and thank our veterans and current military personnel who have risked so much and made so many sacrifices for the freedoms that we have today,” Hommel says.
Visitors can soak in more military history at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum, which is located on the grounds of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport and focuses on sharing the stories and memorabilia of East Texans who have firsthand experience in historic aviation events. The permanent exhibit spans the entire 20th century and includes flying aircraft such as an FJ-4 Fury, T-2C Buckeye, and others on loan from the Air Force Museum.
Find out more on the arts in Tyler, TX.