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TSU’s University Museum is a hidden treasure

Written by on February 16, 2021

By Lydia Dillard, Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University is home to its very own museum, which showcases artwork and artifacts from Black history.

The University Museum resides on campus alongside the Tiger Walk, and the exhibition is open to students and the public. The museum is also home to many of Houston’s local artists. TSU’s museum is a staple on the campus and embodies the untold stories of our ancestral history.

The University Museum
The University Museum (TSU)
The University Museum
The University Museum (TSU)

The 21-year-old museum has been an optimal space to embrace old and new art. Located in the Fairchild Building, TSU’s first building, the museum is hard to miss as you walk along the Tiger Walk. As you enter the building, immediately you’re walking into a historical time zone. You’ll find yourself escaping the reality of now, as you enter a completely different world full of the rich history of African royalty, warriors and much more.

TSU has an extensive history with art, as TSU historical figures such as Dr. John Biggers influenced the art. Originally from North Carolina, Biggers became well-known as a muralist. Biggers wanted to express the life of the Black community in the form of art at TSU. His goal was to develop a space for African art on campus so students would have the ability to connect to history. Another aspect that Biggers took part in was the murals of the Hannah Hall. These murals are done by senior art majors in order for them to complete graduation.

With over 128 student murals on campus, TSU remains the only university in the nation that has implemented such a program with as many student murals. The art program at TSU expects students to be extremely hands-on, as well as open to developing skills practiced throughout history. Biggers has three murals on the campus. “Family Unity” was his last project at the school before he retired.

Texas Southern embraces the history of African artwork in its museum. With the influence of Biggers, TSU has an art program that’s one of a kind. Each artwork and artifact in the museum tells the story of Black ancestors. Dr. Alvia Wardlaw is the founding director and curator of the University Museum and continues Bigger’s legacy. It’s a legacy of Houston history that everyone should witness.

■ This story was written to chronicle Houston’s Black history as part of a partnership between KTSU2, “The Voice”, and KPRC-TV, for Black History Month.


About the author

Lydia Dillard
Lydia Dillard (TSU)

Lydia Dillard is a journalism major with a focus in advertising and public relations. Dillard wishes to continue to develop her writing skills to become a writer and producer in the media industry.