Galveston Historical Foundation
The work of GHF has earned the foundation recognition by prominent state and national organizations. Among the recognized efforts are the redevelopment of The Strand; the rescue and restoration of the 1877 iron barque the Elissa; the revitalization of historic residential neighborhoods and creation of historic districts; and the conception of signature events including Dickens on The Strand and the Galveston Historic Homes Tour. GHF has twice received the National Trust for Historic Preservation's prestigious Honor Award.
Through its innovative Preservation Resource Center (PRC) and Preservation & Conservation Services Department (PCS), GHF works to preserve and revitalize Galveston's historic neighborhoods and buildings. To accomplish this, PCS operates a salvage warehouse, several paint programs, the Incentive Grant program and a revolving real estate fund. The PRC provides the public with a research facility that offers historic property research, neighborhood information, and technical rehabilitation guidance.
Galveston Historical Foundation serves as the steward and operator of many of Galveston's most significant historic properties. The 1838 Michel Menard House, 1839 Samuel May Williams House, 1859 Ashton Villa and Heritage Visitors Center, 1859 St. Joseph Catholic Church and 1880 Garten Verein are all managed through the Historic Properties Department. Through a management agreement with the Galveston County Historical Commission, GHF operates the Galveston County Historical Museum, located in the 1919 City National Bank Building.
As a National Historic Landmark, and recognized as one of the finest ship restorations in the world, the 1877 Official Tall Ship of Texas, Elissa, is truly one of America's treasures. However, GHF's maritime component, the Texas Seaport Museum, has grown to include not only the Elissa, but also two other vessels, the Santa Maria and the Seagull II.
Each year, thousands of heritage tourists learn about the mission of GHF through its events. The Foundation's two largest events are Dickens on The Strand and the Galveston Historic Homes Tour. Celebrating its 33rd anniversary in 2006, Dickens has been named one of the 100 best events in North America by tourism professionals and one of the top ten events in the state by Texas Highways Magazine. In addition, GHF also hosts the annual Sacred Places Tour, and recognizes outstanding individuals with the Spirit of Elissa Award and the Steel Oleander Award.
Galveston Historical Foundation continues to be a driving force in the development and enrichment of the City of Galveston. The foundation is a major voice of preservation advocacy both locally and throughout the state. GHF's many departments, programs, events, and volunteers are all dedicated to its mission: preserving and revitalizing the architectural, cultural, and maritime heritage of Galveston Island for the education and enrichment of all.