Preserving history can be difficult. After 5 months without a formal home the South Padre Island museum hosts its displays at the visitor’s center. Steve Hathcock from the South Padre Historical Commission says, “Initially we had formed a museum foundation in 2008. Our purpose was to at some point in the future build a museum. But while we were waiting to acquire a building, we went ahead and started with our displays.”
Those displays sat in the city’s convention center for some time. Eventually, changes to the convention center forced the museum displays into storage for almost 5 months. After some deliberation, the city of South Padre Island designated the Visitor’s Center as the home for the museum. “People any place on the island are going to go past us and see the museum here. We couldn’t have asked for a better location,” says Hathcock. Although the museum is primarily made with modular displays, each section tells a unique story. From the early 1900 to mid century treasures, the island has a rich history to tell. “People aren’t aware that south padre island came [really] close to being selected as a place to test the atomic bomb,” says Hathcock.
The museum is open today for public viewing. The space is currently shared, but architects are said to be working on repurposing the entire building. “The intention is to educate people about our island and South Texas history,” says Hathcock. Although it’s still a visitor’s center, the plan is to make this a standalone museum in the upcoming years. Other organizations currently using the visitor’s center may also be relocated in the future.
-By Alfredo Cuadros