About the Museum
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Holidays
Parking and Entrance on 4th Street
Closed December 24, 25 & 26, 2018 &
December 31, January 1 & 2, 2019
Adults - $8
Senior Citizens (62+) - $6
College Students w/valid ID - $5
Children 4-18 - $3 // Children 0-3 - FREE
Group Tour Rates
Adults - $4
Children ages 0-18 - $3
School Tours (K-12) - FREE
Group rates are available to groups of 10 or more with a 24-hour notice. Groups must schedule a tour in advance in order to receive the group tour rate as well as a docent guide (optional). To ensure a particular date and docent availability we require that groups schedule tours at least two weeks in advance.
PLEASE NOTE: Guided tours are NOT guaranteed and are based upon docent and staff availability. If your group is more than 30 minutes late, you are NOT guaranteed a docent-guided tour. For more information or to schedule a tour please contact our Education and Tour Coordinator by calling (409) 999-6284 or Email.
The Museum of the Gulf Coast tells the exciting story of the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast region, beginning with paleontology and biology. Permanent exhibits include a section on Native Americans, European contact, the Civil War, economic and cultural growth, the petroleum industry, and the maritime history of the region. The Museum's second floor is dedicated to the many internationally-recognized musicians and athletes who call the Gulf Coast home.
The 39,000 square foot Museum is located at 700 Procter Street in downtown Port Arthur, Texas. In addition to two floors of exhibits, the Museum houses an orientation theater, a classroom, a hospitality area, and a gift shop. The facility is handicap accessible. For further information, call (409) 982-7000.
No Food or Drink // No Flash Photography
No Unattended Children // No Firearms
No Pets (Service animals only with appropriate vest or paperwork)
Mission Statement, History, Exhibits
It is the purpose of the Museum of the Gulf Coast as mandated by the Port Arthur Historical Society to “collect, preserve, display and interpret the heritage of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana;” that regional area defined as being bordered by Houston at its western boundary and New Orleans at its eastern boundary.
As early as 1959, the Gates Memorial Library had acquired important historical items, including the first American flag to fly over Port Arthur. The need for a Museum was evident to many people. In 1964, the State of Texas chartered the Port Arthur Museum. This Museum, however, did not have a home.
In 1970, the Port Arthur Historical Society was formed and acquired the Pompeiian Villa (link) on Lakeshore Drive. The Museum soon outgrew its window and was moved to the Merchant’s National Bank. In 1980, it was relocated again to a wing of the Gates Memorial Library, but that space quickly filled as well.
In 1987, the Board of Directors adopted a plan to broaden the scope of the Museum to encompass the entire Gulf Coast region. By 1990, the Society had acquired the present Museum building. It was built in 1963, and formerly served as the First National Bank. Longtime residents of Port Arthur can visualize where the bank tellers once stood, and the Museum houses its collection in the bank’s formidable vaults. Between 1991 and 1994, the bank was renovated and Southwest Museum Services began installing exhibits. The Museum of the Gulf Coast opened its doors on July 2, 1994.
In 2014, the Museum celebrated its 20th Anniversary, the Society’s 50th, and its 250,000 visitor. The Museum is currently staffed by four employees and many volunteers.
With an increasing emphasis on educational outreach, the Museum hosts thousands of children for school tours, programs, and a summer camp focusing on environmental stewardship. The Museum also offers “Family Fun Days” (link to calendar). In addition, the Museum serves as a resource for archival documents and photographs for academic researchers as well as local, national, and international media (link to collections).
Scope of Exhibits
The Museum’s 39,000 square foot facility contains many exhibits which capture the essence of life along the Upper Gulf Coast. Visitors marvel at our 125-foot mural depicting our history from the prehistoric era to the discovery of oil at Spindletop.
Our Hall of Fame galleries highlight local musicians, athletes, and notable people who have achieved national or international recognition such as Janis Joplin, the Big Bopper, Jimmy Johnson, Major “Tom” Collins, actress Evelyn Keyes, and artist Robert Rauschenberg. More recent inductees include Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. The museum also features a wide variety of temporary exhibitions.