History of the Hallway Gallery

When the library opened in 1904, it included a lecture auditorium on the fourth floor. An excerpt from the book Henry Rosenberg, 1824 – 1893: to Commemorate the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg to Galveston describes the intent and usage of the auditorium.

“It is intended that […] free lectures shall embrace a wide range of subjects of general interest, and be of such a high order of merit as to attract and interest the thoughtful and the studious. Our lectures are intended to be instructive, real food for the intellectual life, and are not to be regarded as entertainments; yet they are intended to be interesting and popular in the best sense. It is regarded as of special importance that a lecturer should first of all have something to say that is worth while, and also important that he should, in addition, know how to say it in an interesting and reasonably acceptable manner.

“The lectures (now some twenty-five or thirty a year) are given during the winter season, in the library lecture hall, seating seven hundred people, generally in the evening at eight o’clock. Some of the afternoon lectures have been given for children. That these lectures are highly valued is abundantly shown by the well-sustained interest and large attendance during all these fourteen years. […]The Library has had during the fourteen years about 125 different lecturers, and about 310 lectures have been given, with a total attendance of over 145,000, averaging more than 450 at each lecture.”

In 1952, the fourth floor was remodeled by Raymond Rapp, Jr., and according to the Galveston Daily News of September 11, 1968, the auditorium was removed to provide “space for use of audio-visual materials and archival materials.” In 1967, the Fox Rare Book Room and the Marion Lee “Sandy” Kempner Memorial Room were installed. Lectures and events were moved to the newly built Moody Wing which opened in 1971 on the lower floor in what was named the Wortham Auditorium until Hurricane Ike flooded the entire first floor of the Library in September 2008.

After the hurricane, the area that was once occupied by the original auditorium, reduced by the area of the Fox and Morgan rooms and “Sandy’s Room,” was transformed by Rosenberg Library Museum’s Collections Manager at the time into another beautiful gallery, with special lighting to enhance the space.

Exhibits are rotated on a periodic basis.

Lalique Glass Collection in the Hallway Gallery