Those Who Forget History are Condemned to Repeat It

Miniature Rosenberg with a model train at the Rosenberg Railroad Museum. Source:

We all have heard different versions of this famous quote. Those of us with children have said it many times to our kids, usually after they made a mistake. Our schools have the primary role in teaching world, United States and Texas history to our youth.  They do a great job but are mostly limited to learning from books in classes. There is little time to let our kids actually see and live history. As parents, we all want that experience, but how do we do it?

There’s a one-word answer to that question: Museums! We are blessed to have a plethora of outstanding museums in Fort Bend County.  Here are some of my favorites:

Since the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, settled the first colonists referred to as “The Old 300” in Richmond, our county seat, let’s start there. Cattycorner to our historic county courthouse is the newly redone Fort Bend Museum.  Located on South Fifth Street, it’s adjacent to the historic 1883 Congressman John Moore home. If you want to learn more about the Mother of Texas, Jane Long, and the second President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau Lamar, there’s no better place to learn about their lives in Fort Bend.  And there’s much, much more to see. That’s Fort Bend Strong!

Bush 41 exhibit at Katy VFW Post 9182.

Our next historic stop is a museum just west of the Fort Bend Museum off of  US 90A in Rosenberg – our Black Cowboy Museum. Legendary Cowboy Larry Callies is happy to share stories of Black Cowboys like Nat Love, Bill Pickett or the first Lone Ranger, Bass Reeves. If you’re nice, Larry may share his stories about riding broncs or bulls. Larry and the Black Cowboy Museum are Fort Bend Strong!

Since we’re in Rosenberg already, let’s cross US 90A heading north to learn about the “Iron Horse” that made Fort Bend prosperous at the Rosenberg Railroad Museum. Climb up Tower 17 and see how the switches on the train tracks were operated by hand in the tower. Tour the luxurious 1879 railcar The Quebec. I guarantee you’ve never seen a cooler model train than the G gauge and HO gauge tracks steaming through a miniature Rosenberg. The kids will never want to leave because they are Fort
Bend Strong

Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land.

If you want to see and hear stories from heroes who fought for us in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, head to Katy’s Floyd E. Breedlove VFW Post 9182 and their Katy Veteran’s Memorial Museum. President George H.W. Bush personally dedicated the museum. See the uniforms the Doughboys wore in World War I. View a replica of the tiny life preserver that kept President Bush afloat until he was rescued by a submarine after being shot down by the Japanese over Chichi Jima on September 3, 1944. You’ll feel Fort Bend Strong!

Next destination? The George Ranch Historical Park on FM 762. You will truly experience what life was like in Southeast Texas over 100 years ago. After a few minutes into your tour, you’ll be thankful for electric lights, air conditioning, cars and mesh clothes that breathe. You may try your hand at archeology or cook over an open fire or look eye-to-eye with a huge Texas longhorn. I dropped by their on-site museum a few years ago.  To my surprise, I learned that the George Ranch was a POW camp in World War II with 250 German prisoners being held there.  You’ll leave knowing why Albert and Mamie George were Fort
Bend Strong

Time to head to the most populous town in Fort Bend – my hometown of Sugar Land. Our iconic Imperial Sugar Refinery is home to two museums. The Sugar Land Heritage Museum has extensive displays and information on Sugar Land’s rich history as a true company town.  If you worked at our sugar mill, your groceries and gasoline were free! If you just want pure fun for kids, right next door is the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center. Learn about electricity at the Shocks and Jolts exhibit.  Or check out the How Does It Work? gallery or the become the mayor of Kidtropolis,  a city run for kids by kids. That’s Fort
Bend Strong

One final stop with a dinosaur – a  tyrannosaurus rex! Those huge, nasty teeth greet you when you walk into the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land! See how smart your kids are at the Hall of Technology. If your youngsters like touching, pushing, turning, twisting, spinning or shaking, they’ll love the Discovery Works exhibition. They’ll get a heavy dose of Newton’s Laws of Motion without knowing it. For parents and kids, that’s Fort Bend Strong!

My guided tour of the Fort Bend County Museums that I have personally visited is complete.  Writing this column, a flood of memories of Grant and Kate enjoying all of these museums came roaring back.  Please take time to enjoy our museums as a family like we did. If you have an idea for a Fort Bend Strong column, please email me at The museums have one thing in common with all of my columns:  No politics allowed. Ever.

Until next month, we are Fort Bend Strong!