Galveston House Museums

The Galveston Historical Foundation is spreading the news that it's getting a major federal grant it will use for repairs to the historic Ashton Villa, one of the oldest homes in Galveston. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Ashton Villa was built in 1859, and it's been a public museum house since 1970. Galveston Historical Foundation Director Dwayne Jones says air conditioning that was put in several decades ago actually caused more problems than it solved.

"Ashton Villa has for many years had some environmental problems that were created probably 30 or 40 years ago by some work that was done on the property. And it's created a micro-climate, where, actually, the plaster on the interior and other places has been disintegrating."ξ

The $150,000 grant comes from the U.S. Interior Department's Save America's Treasures program. Jones says they're now applying for another grant to help pay for work at the crown jewel of Galveston history, the Bishop's Palace, built in 1892, which the foundation has agreed to manage for the Catholic Arch-Diocese.

"Although the Diocese has certainly kept it open and available to the public, it's certainly suffered too from neglect, from roof problems and various other things, so we're really pleased, our board is really pleased, because they wanted to step up and start helping out to get some support to get it restored."ξ

Jones estimates it'll cost more than $5 million to pay for everything that needs to be done at the Bishop's Palace, and the Foundation has created the non-profit Bishop's Palace Trust to raise private donations.ξ Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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