Walk through the doors of any museum, and you’re entering a veritable treasure trove of latent stories from far-off places just waiting to be explored. But with much of their prominent display space devoted to specifically curated exhibitions focusing on a particular time, place, or subject, few museums have the ability to show off all the wonders they possess.
What wonders, you ask? For just two examples, the actual Winnie-the-Pooh—yes, the real (stuffed) bear that helped inspire A.A. Milne’s beloved stories—spent decades in the basement of the New York Public Library, while most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s singularly evocative and influential paintings are in storage. In fact, most museums display only about 2 percent of the objects they have in their own vaults.
Houston’s iconic institutions devoted to art, science, and history are no exception. And they boast some of the finest permanent collections around thanks to the city’s ties to the global oil industry, with its cross-cultural reach and tradition of community investment. So we asked representatives of a few of the Bayou City’s most fascinating repositories to offer us insights into some of their mainstay marvels, from the ancient to the interesting to the downright bizarre.