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KHOU's Brandi Smith interviewed Houston History Research Center Manager Letrice Davis for this Hidden Gems segment all about the Julia Ideson Building! 


From the story:

Since the building is part of the Houston Public Library system, the HHRC is open to the public, including its microfiche, old yearbooks and even its 4,000-piece photo collection.


"It's important to preserve the documentary evidence of Houston because it allows researchers to come in and understand how the city started, what significant things have happened here and how the people have changed," said Davis.


The HHRC occupies a small portion of the first floor. Just outside its doors, the history lessons continue via a free audio tour of the building. Visitors can learn about the building itself and its façade. About a dozen other stops fill you in on how a tile mural of Don Quixote came to be, what the other murals in the building are all about and what’s special about the Norma Meldrum Children's Room.


"Ninety-five percent of the furniture in that room was original to the building," Davis pointed out.


The chairs, tables and shelves all date back nearly a century. It’s all been not just preserved, but restored.


"When they did the restoration, they made sure that they even went back and got microscopic paint chips so that they could restore even the color to the building," said Davis.


Its uniqueness is highlighted in spots like the Reading Room, complete with a Venus de Milo statue.


"(It's) really amazing to work here with so much history," Davis smiled. "It's just really a beautiful building. I understand totally why it's such a draw for people who are having events or just visiting the city and want to look around."


Featured in KPRC-TV, Houston Life City of Houston reveals beautiful new statue of former First Lady Barbara Bush


From the news release:

On September 28, the City of Houston, led by Mayor Sylvester Turner, in conjunction with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (Foundation), Houston Public Library Foundation (HPL Foundation), and Houston Public Library, revealed a statue of Former First Lady Barbara Bush and held a dedication at the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the Houston Public Library Downtown. The bronze statue, commissioned in partnership among the organizations, will serve as the focal point of the Barbara Bush Memorial Garden located within the Plaza named in honor of the late First Lady.


The dedication was attended by Mayor Sylvester Turner; Family members of the late President George H.W. & First Lady Barbara Bush – Neil Bush (son) and wife Maria Bush, Pierce (grandson) and wife Sarahbeth Bush, Jim Pierce (nephew), and Clemmie Pierce Martin (great niece); Dr. Julie Baker Finck, President & CEO, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation; Licia Green Ellis, Houston Public Library Foundation Board Chair; and John Middleton, Houston Public Library Assistant Director of Spaces. The invocation was offered by Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr, Rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.


The custom bronze statue, created by artists at Randolph Rose, took two years to design and create, is the first stand-alone statue of the late First Lady Barbara Bush in Texas. (A statue of the late President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush stands in the Bush Convention Center in Midland, Texas.) The statue is a life-size image of Mrs. Bush seated on a six-foot “open book” bench. She is wearing her signature pearls and is posed in the act of reading as she did so often to groups of children across the country who would gather to hear stories. Beloved family dog Millie – the family dog while the Bush’s were in the White House – sits at her feet. Mrs. Bush frequently took her dogs – whether Millie or Mini and Bebe on school visits.


“Mom championed a literacy movement across America and believed that learning how to read, write, and comprehend was a fundamental human right,” said Neil Bush, son of President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush and Co-Chair of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. “The statue is an incredible tribute to her legacy and captures Mom’s essence, as she truly loved reading to children in schools across our nation and beyond with her beloved dogs in tow.”


“This statue stands as a tribute to Barbara Bush’s incredible 30-year commitment to helping countless people across our country gain the life-changing literacy skills they need to thrive in the workforce, family and society.” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “May this statue serve as a constant reminder of her dedication and inspire us all to give in service to others and make reading a priority in our homes and communities."


The Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza is located between the historic Julia Ideson Building and the Central Library of the Houston Public Library in downtown Houston and joins five bronze book benches sponsored by the Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild in 2022.

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