Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association
The Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association (PAPHA) is dedicated to preserving and encouraging the preservation, restoration and reproduction of historic buildings, structures, sites, places, objects, culture, ecology and customs of Port Aransas as a means of positively contributing to and enhancing the community’s natural beauty, well-being and distinctive character.
2010 Recipient of the Texas Historical Commission Award of Excellence in Preserving History
Port Aransas Preservation & Historical Association is a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
"Promoting citizen interest and participation in the appreciation and preservation of Port Aransas’ history, environment and ambiance."
We met our first goal, to establish a museum and/or heritage site(s) to house, display and preserve historical artifacts, documents, records, structures and other appropriate items, when the museum opened in December 2008. It is located at the corner of Alister and Brundrett next to the Community Center.
We continue to work on the remaining goals on a daily basis:
Promote citizen interest and participation in the appreciation and preservation of Port Aransas’ history, environment and ambiance.
Recognition and encouragement of local, state and national entities in furthering PAPHA goals and endeavors.
Develop broad based financial support and membership.
Research and organize Port Aransas’ historical assets to promote heritage tourism.
In the Beginning
The Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association (PAPHA) was established on November 15, 2002.
One of its first goals was to create a historical museum to preserve and showcase the town’s history. This was done through a joint effort between PAPHA and the City of Port Aransas.
Another goal was to inventory historic sites in Port Aransas. This work was accomplished through funding by a matching grant in 2006 and the Visionaries in Preservation grant from the Texas Historical Commission.
In 2007 Preservation Texas, a private, non-profit statewide preservation group, named the building that now houses the museum, an early 1900s kit house, one of the top 12 most endangered structures in the state. The owners offered to sell it to PAPHA where it stood but that was not an option due to the cost. So they gave the house to PAPHA if we agreed to move it to another location.
Papers were signed transferring ownership to PAPHA on Feb. 8, 2007. The problem then was where and how to move it, and how to pay for all aspects, including remodeling into a museum after the move.
PAPHA applied for grants, held fundraisers and met with the City of Port Aransas, utility companies and movers. Enough money was raised to move the house, but not for land.
The City Council and City Manager agreed to find a place on city property for a museum, finally settling on part of the Community Center property site.
In April 2008 the house was moved to it’s current location. It was renovated and opened as a museum by December of the same year.
Along with the city’s help and concessions by utility companies, the entire community helped with donations of time, talent, material, equipment, ideas and support. The Port Aransas Garden Club graciously landscaped the Community Center complex with the club’s money and skilled gardeners.
The museum is open three days a week. Docents have been trained and work as volunteers in the Port Aransas Museum. The program includes ongoing training for these docents and future docents. Docents give tours; work outreach with schools on historical lessons, games and tutorials; give tours of the Little Chapel on the Hill, and are working with the museum director to establish walking tours.
Copies of more than 12,000 photos and documents pertaining to the history of the city have been archived in a publicly accessible database. All are available for viewing, along with artifacts, oral histories of island locals and movies of Port Aransas in the 1920s.