The University Museum is the realization of a dream that began with the very first administration of Texas Southern University and was kept alive by dedicated faculty of the Fine Arts Department. In 1949, President R. O'Hare Lanier promoted the idea of a "museum of Negro arts and history." Dr. John T. Biggers, Carroll Harris Simms and other art faculty promoted the concept in their teaching philosophy by systematically developing over four decades a unique collection of African and African American art with a major focus on the work of TSU art majors. Fifty-one years after Dr. Lanier's initial proposal the University Museum officially opened its doors. April 12, 2000 was a day filled with inspiration, reflections and reunion, and the anticipation of even greater dreams fulfilled.
The architects of the University Museum, Rey de la Reza and Darrell Fitzgerald successfully maintained the integrity of the original Fairchild structure while emphasizing the elegant beauty and contemporary grandeur inherent in the space. Here in this 11,000 square foot exhibition space, the historical meets the contemporary. The acoustics of the museum are exceptional and the music of classical violinist Rachael Jordan and jazz pianist Jason Moran have been among the many outstanding musicians who have brought the museum to life.
The museum is the permanent home of the mural masterpiece by John Biggers Web of Life. In this generous setting the mural can be truly studied to gain insight into the beauty and complexity of African American people. Similarly, the outstanding terra cotta sculptures created by students of Professor Carroll Harris Simms form a unique complement to the mural.
In its first year, the University Museum presented a full schedule of exhibitions including the inaugural Pass it On: Fifty Years of Art From the Permanent Collection, Our New Day Begun: African American Artists Entering the Millennium, Step Into the Footmarks of My Ancestors: Recent Work by Leamon Green and African American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, VIII from Michael Rosendfeld Gallery, NYC. Each exhibition was complemented by a full range of educational programs. Signature programs include: Food For Thought: Poetry Reading/Food Drive, Juneteenth Family Festival, Tiger Tidings Holiday Celebration and the Marathon Reading.
Hours and Admission
The University Museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays and national holidays. Located in the south wing of the Fairchild Building, the museum also sponsors special evening lectures, concerts, and openings throughout the year. Admission to the museum is free; however donations for museum expenses are always welcome.
Special docent-led tours for children, student, and adult groups are organized by docent coordinator, Mrs. Bettie J. Harris. To reserve a tour please contact Mrs. Harris at (713) 313-7145.
Museum Parking and Directions
Limited parking is Lots A & L is available on a daily basis. When visiting the campus, stop at the museum before you park to receive a museum visitor's parking pass.
To reach the museum via 59 South, merge onto 288 South and exit Southmore. Turn left at the Southmore overpass light and take Southmore to Ennis Street. Turn left on Ennis and continue on Ennis nine blocks to Cleburne. Turn right on Cleburne and turn right again at the first large marked entrance to the university and continue straight ahead into Lot A. The museum is located at the south end of the Fairchild Building adjacent to Lot A. The main entrance faces the "Tigerwalk" formerly Wheeler Street and is across the street from the new recreation center.
To reach the museum via 59 North merge onto the 288 South and exit Southmore. Follow the directions for 59 South.
To reach the museum via 45 North merge onto 288 South and follow the directions for 59 South.
Take the 288 South and exit Southmore. Turn right onto Southmore and follow the directions for 59 South.
Natasha L. Turner
Phone: (713) 313-7120
Fax: (713) 313-7342