About the Museum

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking and Entrance in back

 

Closed Sundays and Holidays

 

Walk-in Admission
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 4-18 - $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 based upon staff availability.  For more information or to schedule a tour please contact our Education and Tour Coordinator by calling (409) 999-6284 or Email.

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.

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 Texas Navy, the Civil War, economic and cultural growth, the petroleum industry, and the region's maritime history.  The Museum's second floor, consisting of various Halls of Fame, is dedicated to over 200 and growing, internationally recognized musicians, athletes, artists, and other notable people who have ties to the region. These Halls of Fame focus on youth visitors from throughout the region, state, and world, demonstrating the various life stories of the many who grew up on our Gulf Coast Region.  Through talent, hard work, and perseverance, they have achieved national and international acclaim for their efforts.  These exhibits and personal histories serve as a message to our youth that you can come from about any small hometown and that it does not limit them in whatever they may aspire to be or accomplish.

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, rentable space, and a gift shop. The facility is handicap accessible. For further information, call (409) 982-7000

Museum Policies

No Food or Drink  // No Flash Photography

No Unattended Children // No Firearms

No Pets (Service animals only with an appropriate vest or paperwork)

Mission Statement, History, Exhibits

Mission Statement

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.

 

Museum History

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 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.  Built in 1963, it had formerly served as the First National Bank.  Permanent Exhibits occupy the first two floors, The Museum houses its collections 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.

Today

In 2021, the Museum celebrated its 27th Anniversary, the Society’s 57th, and its 350,000+ visitors.  The Museum of the Gulf Coast 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."  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 the 125-foot mural depicting the area's history from the prehistoric era to the discovery of oil at Spindletop. 

 

The 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, Karen Silkwood, actress Evelyn Keyes, and artist Robert Rauschenberg.  The museum also includes a wide variety of temporary exhibitions in the Dunn Gallery.