By Andy Rhodes, The Medallion Managing Editor
Last summer, a packed house celebrated the grand opening of Fulton Mansion’s new Education and History Center in Rockport. The event represented the culmination of more than a decade’s worth of planning and development at the mansion, one of the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) 20 historic sites.
With its distinctive mansard roof and ornate trim, Fulton Mansion has represented the aristocratic Victorian world of a prominent South Texas family since its completion in 1877. The site’s new Education and History Center showcases stories about the Fultons, their stately home, and their life in Aransas County, while providing visitors with improved amenities and services. The facility contains interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages and interests, and offers a comfortable place to wait for tours of the mansion.
“The Fulton Mansion is a significant heritage tourism attraction in Texas, and we’re very proud of the new Education and History Center,” said Mark Wolfe, the THC’s executive director. “Heritage destinations like this help increase visitation to historic sites and stimulate local economies across the state.”
The new building will also serve as a community gathering place, with a multi-purpose room that accommodates educational groups and is available to the public as a community event space. The Friends of Fulton Mansion, which has been the site’s support group for nearly two decades, has been an important partner in the development of the center.
“The Education and History Center will be a vital component in the mission of this site by bringing to life the stories of the Fultons and their contributions to Texas history,” said Donna Williams, director of the THC’s Historic Sites Division. “We look forward to welcoming more visitors to the mansion and to providing an enhanced experience while they’re here.”
Learn more about the historic site and its new facility at the Fulton Mansion website.
Fulton Mansion Restoration Project
The Fulton Mansion will undergo extensive preservation work this year to address serious long-term foundation and structural issues, basement water infiltration, deterioration of original wood windows, and major roof leaks. The project will preserve and protect the historic materials, prevent further structural damage, and integrate upgrades that will better protect the historic collections from the harsh coastal climate. This work is funded through THC bond funds.
The mansion also needs extensive repairs to the exterior wood siding, decorative wood trim, doors and siding, and total exterior repainting to return the building to its original luster. Public support is needed to allow the additional work to be completed simultaneously, ensuring the mansion’s collections and the structure itself are preserved for the education and enjoyment of its visitors.
So far, $150,000 of the needed $450,000 has been secured. Fulton Mansion supporters are seeking additional donations to help complete this vital work. For more information or to contribute, please contact the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission or call 512.936.2189.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of The Medallion.
If you like this post, please subscribe to our blog.