I have decided that I will make it my mission to see as many of the small, local museums as I can find. I have collected a massive pile of brochures and will start – now – checking them out. Houston has a very large area, just west of downtown called the museum district. We have a world class collection of large, well managed and well funded museums. The Contemporary Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Health and Science and, my favorite, the Museum of Natural Science are all within a mile radius. But I have found that there are many, that is MANY, small privately owned museums scattered throughout the Houston Metropolitan area – these are the ones I will hunt down and visit.
This week I went by the 1940 Air Terminal Museum, a small, privately owned museum, consisting of the original Hobby Airport art deco styled terminal, (the only one in the USA left standing) and a couple hangers not yet open to the public. When I read about this museum, I wondered how Camillo and I had missed it. He was an avid lover of all things aeronautic. Knowledge of a hanger full of vintage plane, pulled out the 3rd Saturday of every month would have gotten him out of the house for sure. This building and its show of small planes only opened in mid 2003 – shortly after our move to Brasil, and frankly it never occurred to us to visit Houston as tourists like we did all other cities – visiting churches and museums with real enthusiasm.
The museum is still under restoration. Left empty and deserted when the new section of Hobby was constructed; filled with debris, rodents, and the homeless, the The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society is now hunting for the $3 million estimated to plaster the interior walls. Right now the interior walls are in red block, the same materials used in the original construction. The plaster was a mixture of gypsum and asbestos. The main entrance level is complete and when they can, they will complete the walls in the wings in a gypsum/fiberglass mix to mimic the high gloss finish of the original.
For now, even with its incomplete restoration, a walk through the memorabilia was a real pleasure.