A Brief History of the Museum
A Life With Vision
The Altharetta Yeargin Art Museum is named for the woman whose vision and efforts culminated in the establishment of what has become a unique educational resource for Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD). Nearly 30 years ago, Altharetta Yeargin, a now retired art teacher and area art coordinator for SBISD, donated to the District a collection of artifacts which she and her husband had gathered during their travels around the world. This collection became the basis for the Art Center, an innovative, museum-style exhibit originally housed at Memorial Middle School. The Art Center served as a Fine Arts field trip destination for SBISD’s elementary students for many years.
A New Home
With the addition of significant art donations from community members, the Art Center collection eventually outgrew its classroom home, creating the need for a larger, more permanent display space. With the blessing of Mrs. Yeargin, continuous support from SBISD’s Board of Trustees and a $600,000 donation from the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company, a site for the Altharetta Yeargin Art Museum was designated on the campus of the Westchester Academy for International Studies. SBISD’s architects partnered with the Smithsonian Institution in the planning and design of this stare-of-the-art facility, which includes three galleries, an art classroom, Kiva for presentations, art reference library, and vault for artwork storage.
A Real-World Experience
The Altharetta Yeargin Art Museum collects and exhibits the art of world cultures in all mediums and periods. With over 600 pieces, the Museum collection contains a large body of ethnographic/cultural pieces from around the world. Educational research reveals a direct link between arts-based learning and enhanced student achievement. Through the coordination of exhibits with school curricula, the Museum is able to bring subject matter to life in a tangible way. Field trip visits by all SBISD 2nd grade students are a yearly event, as are Road Shows by museum facilitators and docents who visit first grade SBISD students in their classroom. Saturday programs for the entire family are scheduled throughout the year.
Serving All Houston-Area School Disticts
The Museum is open to the public; this includes its extensive art reference library which may be utilized for research on an appointment basis. Docent-guided tours for both SBISD and outside-District groups are available by appointment. As a site for student and public visits, staff development, District art events, and after-hours programming, the Museum offers learning opportunities and cultural enrichment not only to SBISD, but all Houston-area school districts and communities.