Photo Exhibit at San Jacinto Museum

Just in time for Memorial Day, the San Jacinto Museum of History has opened an exhibit of photographs that show Houston as it was in the 19th and 20th centuries. Jim Bell reports.

Cecil Thomson was a photographer with a passion for recording Houston’s growth and evolution with pictures. Between 1910 and 1950 he photographed practically everything. 150 of his photographs are now on exhibit at the San Jacinto Museum of History, and curator Liz Appleby put it together.

“I was looking for things that could tell a good story. I was looking for things that could tell unique angles on things, and also just the completely bizarre.”

The exhibit has photos showing construction of landmarks like the Rice Hotel, the Gulf Building the Esperson Buildings, and Sam Houston Hall, built for the 1928 Democratic National Convention, and later torn down to make way for the old Sam Houston Coliseum. There are photos of beauty pageants, movie premieres, and the old Fat Stock Show, which is now Rodeo Houston. Appleby says the exhibit will be shuffled in coming months to get more of the large collection into it.

“I only have 150 shots up. My idea is to just rotate a lot of different aspects of the collection up. I haven’t really put up anything about Galveston, which we have a signficant collection of photos of, up yet, and I would really like to get them up. And I have other collections of just really great things of people working the fields in Sugarland.”

The exhibit Developing Houston: Photographic Treasures from the Cecil Thomson Collection will be at the San Jacinto Museum of History at the San Jacinto Monument through next year.

Jim Bell, KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.

Images courtesy of the Cecil Thomson Collection, San Jacinto Museum of History.