Volunteering at The Bryan

“You know when you know, you know?”

I have been volunteering at The Bryan for the past year as a Gallery Specialist, Museum Greeter, and assisting in special projects. Having recently moved to Galveston and having a lifelong interest in art and history, it is a pleasure to greet guests with a smile (though currently hidden behind a mask), telling one of my many stories, and sharing my growing knowledge and love of the arts with guests and staff. It has been interesting to be back volunteering since reopening. The dynamic is different and the guests are truly interested in a one-on-one experience and learning about what The Bryan Museum has to offer.

I am originally from East Texas and have lived in Galveston for a year. My interests have always gravitated toward the arts and giving back. I knew The Bryan Museum had opened on the island, and friends recommended that I visit. There was a presentation of “MAKING A HAND”, the Art of H. D. Bugbee by Michael R. Grauer, and that is when I met Rebecca. When I was presented with the opportunity of being involved with The Bryan Museum, it was a natural fit.

I enjoy meeting people, and with each conversation, whether it is with the staff or guests, I have learned something. There is an abundance of knowledge that I receive from the guests by simply asking questions. And, I have learned, if I don’t know the answer, someone will. That is part of what it’s all about. The arts and history are important, so if I can help promote knowledge and interest in Texas history and art, that makes it all worthwhile.

It is interesting that the large carved mesquite wood cross in the Spanish Colonial Gallery is my favorite piece of the collection, so far. (A small Frank Reaugh pastel is a close second). The cross is from Mexico and was created during the Spanish Colonial era (17th century). It appears crude today, but it says so much. I thoroughly enjoy walking through the various galleries while I am volunteering. With so much to see, I always seem to find something I hadn’t noticed before and I learn more about Texas history and colonization each time I work.

Through my association with everyone associated with The Bryan Museum, I have gained so much knowledge and respect for the men and women who helped forge the great state of Texas and the great American West. So, I encourage anyone who is interested in the art, education, and friendship that The Bryan Museum has to offer, to come by, and let me tell you a story!

Bill Poplin
Bryan Museum Volunteer