One of the things Rachel and I want to be sure to do as we travel around the country is to learn something about the areas we visit. Since we left St. Louis for Texas most of the things we have done has been to explore beaches, natural areas and animal sanctuaries.
This past weekend we decided to visit some of the museums in the Freeport/Lake Jackson area. We visited the Brazosport Museum of Natural Science at Dow Academy, the Lake Jackson Historical Museum and the Freeport Historical Society & Museum.
First up was the Brazosport Museum of Natural Science at Dow Academy. Upon arrival we were informed that the museum was home to the largest collection of seashells in the country. They were not kidding! There are massive displays (like the one in this post’s featured image) with information about shells I’ve never even seen. In addition to the displays there were pull-out drawers full of even more seashells. All labeled and documented. For example, we learned that the Texas State shell is a Lightning Whelk, which is a large spiral shell that has a left-hand opening (most whelks have right-hand openings, duh!).
In addition to the copious shells, the Brazosport Museum of Natural Science has a nice collection of other items like dinosaur skeltons, an astounding jade ship sculpture from the 1930’s, and various minerals, sea life and butterflies. It is a very nice museum and well worth the trip.
Next up, the Lake Jackson Historical Museum. It contains an impressive amount of information about the indigenous Karankawa tribes, Abner Jackson and his plantation, and how the magnesium rush of Dow Chemical built the early community. It also featured a somewhat creepy animatronic of Alden Dow, the architect who designed the unusual layout of Lake Jackson.
One curious note we found amusing was the role played by mobile housing throughout the history of the area. The Karankawa tribes were nomadic and used mobile wigwams for housing, and workers in the early 20th century, confronted with housing shortages as the Dow plant’s growth exploded, gave rise to tiny house villages and RV parks. It made our current lifestyle seem somewhat fitting.
The Freeport Historical Society & Museum was much smaller, but still contained some interesting information about the early years and growth of Freeport. The photos and documentation about devastating hurricanes in 1900 and 1932 that wiped out the early communities shared space with displays commemorating the town’s contribution to World War II and the shipping industry.
Rachel and I are always happy to learn about new things, and our new life presents an opportunity to visit places we never would have, otherwise. We are grateful that these types of informational repositories exist!