The Bryan Museum opened on June 14, 2015. In the two years leading up to the grand opening, the historic building underwent a complete restoration.
One of the major renovations involved the grounds, which were filled with overgrown grass, shrubs, and trees. Forty wells were dug for the geothermal system that keeps the building at a consistent temperature. New trees, such as palms and baby oaks, were planted in March 2015, and the planting of shrubs and flowers began in April.
Horticulturist, Mitzy Mills-Barringer, has planted more than 3,000 plants since March 2015. The concept of the grounds is to have an environment that embraces and represents the Gulf Coast. Landscape architect Jim Mansfield created a design with sinuous, curving lines to soften the hard edges of the historic building.
The plants that fill the grounds were chosen because they grow well in the island environment, are native to Texas and the Galveston region, are colorful, and have a pleasant scent. Mr. Bryan requested iconic Texas plants such as magnolia trees, azaleas, yellow roses, bougainvillea, a variety of palm trees, and oleanders. Also throughout the grounds are esperanza, birds of paradise, hibiscuses, purple Chinese fringe, variegated ginger, Indian hawthorn, durantas, jasmine, and more.