The Grace Museum
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|The Grace Museum|
|Established||1937 as Abilene Fine Arts Museum|
102 Cypress Street
|Type||Art, History, Children's|
|Director||Francine Carraro, Ph.D.|
The Grace Museum is a museum located in Abilene, Texas, USA. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The Grace Museum houses five art galleries displaying temporary exhibitions and works from its permanent art collection; a children's museum; and a history gallery with rotating exhibitions, a recreated boot shop and period rooms.
The museum's history collection and children's museum were both founded by the Abilene Fine Arts Museum with assistance from the Junior League of Abilene. During the 1990s, the collective of then-separate museums was housed together in the restored historic building at 102 Cypress Street, known initially as The Grace Cultural Center. The three museums eventually became known as one entity, The Grace Museum.
Permanent art collection
The Grace Museum's permanent art collection primarily includes works by American artists with a focus on Texas and American Regionalism. The collection originated with the Abilene Fine Arts Museum in 1937, and has grown since its inception to include recent acquisitions by James Surls, Andy Warhol, David Bates, Helen Altman, Russell Lee, Bob Stuth-Wade, Vernon Fisher and others.
The history collection was initiated in the 1970s and is populated by artifacts and records covering the history of Abilene and the immediate area. A particular strength of the history collection is the Texas and Pacific Railway collection, made up of thousands of photographs, artifacts, models and other records.
The children's museum on The Grace Museum's Second Floor is a hands-on discovery-based learning center for children and families. The space underwent renovations in 2007 and 2009, including addition of a child-size replica of Abilene's Paramount Theatre complete with sets, costumes, dressing room and lights.
The Grace Museum is a 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) museum complex contained in the historic Hotel Grace, located in downtown Abilene, Texas. The Hotel Grace was built in 1909 by Col. W. L. Beckham of Greenville, Texas and is located at the corner of Cypress Street and North First Street. The Prairie Style building was initially a three-story structure, but a fourth story was added in the late 1920s. A subsequent renovation removed the main portico, bricked up several main story windows and changed the hotel's name to the Drake Hotel. The Drake Hotel eventually ceased operation and fell into disrepair. The Abilene Preservation League and the Abilene Fine Arts Museum banded together in the late 1980s to save the neglected structure and provide a new and improved home for the Abilene Fine Arts Museum. Following major restoration in the early 1990s, the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facade and portico were restored, as were the main lobby and ballroom. Additionally, one wing was restored to its original appearance as a hotel hallway and is used for administrative offices.
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- Texas Fort Trail
- Handbook of Texas: Online
- Texas Association of Museums: Member Links