LCRA awards $2,850 grant to Palacios museum

With new door improving security and environmental controls, City by the Sea Museum prepares to put its centuries-old artifacts on display

An LCRA representative presents a $2,850 grant for a new exterior door to improve security and environmental controls at the City by the Sea Museum. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Jim Gardner, Palacios mayor; Vikijane Mosier, Palacios Area Historical Association vice president; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Sandra Davidson, historical association trustee and secretary; Mark Garrett, historical association secretary; Pam Oliver, Palacios Chamber of Commerce executive director; and Markus Sandy, museum board of trustees treasurer.

PALACIOS, Texas – A $2,850 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will enable the City by the Sea Museum to replace a malfunctioning exterior side door, improving both security and environmental conditions for the museum’s displays and artifacts.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant to the Palacios Area Historical Association will assist the museum in reaching a long-held goal – becoming a display site for artifacts from the La Salle expedition along the Texas Gulf Coast nearly 350 years ago.

Markus Sandy, treasurer for the museum board of trustees, said the La Salle Odyssey Project is sharing artifacts from the expedition with historical museums along the coast. The display tells the story of French explorers in Texas, including the expedition led by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.

For some time, Sandy said, the City by the Sea Museum has been making improvements to meet the requirements set for participation in the La Salle Odyssey Project. The installation of the new exterior door will allow the museum to check off the remaining items on its to-do list – enhanced security and improved climate control.

“We’re ‘dotting the i’ on something we’ve been working on for a long time – getting the artifacts we were promised,” Sandy said. “It will be a major accomplishment for the museum. You don’t know how important this is to us. We’re so grateful for this grant and the support.”

The new door will replace one now secured by a pair of sandbags to keep it from rattling and setting off a security alarm. The upgraded door will help shield the museum’s interior from damaging sunlight and inclement weather, as well as help lower utility costs.

La Salle’s expedition of four ships and about 400 people left France in 1684 with the intent of establishing a colony along the Mississippi River. After failing to find the mouth of the Mississippi, La Salle landed the group of colonists at Matagorda Bay in 1685. A year later, the ill-fated expedition’s sole remaining ship, La Belle, was wrecked during a storm and sank to the bottom of Matagorda Bay.

In 1995, archaeologists located the 17th century ship and began a decades-long process of excavating, recovering and conserving the ship’s hull, along with more than 1.6 million artifacts. The ship’s preserved hull is now displayed at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, and the City by the Sea Museum expects to eventually welcome its share of the La Salle Expedition artifacts.

The museum’s permanent exhibits include artifacts and replicas of items related to the Karankawa, the native inhabitants of the area, and detailed information about life in Palacios. The museum also features an exhibit and film about Palacios’ role in the excavation of the La Belle.

“There’s been a box holding our La Belle artifacts for many years, and this project will put the final nail in the box and qualify us to receive them and put them on display in our upstairs gallery,” Sandy said. “Now we can take that final step and become one of the member museums recounting La Salle’s adventures along the coast here.”

The community grant is one of 44 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. More information is available at

About LCRA

The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations.

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