Non-Profit Unveils New Headquarters
It also creates traveling exhibits and sponsors lectures on history, literature and philosophy.
The non-profit decided to move its headquarters to central Austin a few years ago.
“We also wanted something old that would evoke heritage that would identify with our interest in history and culture,” Executive Director Michael Gillette told KUT News.
Humanities Texas bought the Byrne-Reed House on the corner of 15th and Rio Grande Street, just five blocks from the Capitol.
Originally built in 1907, the mansion was entombed in stucco and surrounded by columns that developers had added in the seventies.
The entire project cost about $5 million and was largely funded by a million dollar challenge grant from NEH.
“So much damage had been done to the original house,” said Architect Emily Little, “We couldn’t have just taken the layers off and said “oh look! Here’s this beautiful house!” It was not in pristine condition. It had been damaged. Holes had been blown in the brick walls to run air conditioning ducts. As people lived in the house, they made changes over time.”
Little says old photographs helped her team piece together what the house looked like a century ago.
“The photographs made the house come back to life,” said Little.
Humanities Texas reveals its new headquarters to the public Friday night from 5:30 to 7:30.
—Reported by Maggie Martin