Best Museum (2002)

Hyde Park Miniature Museum

For years, Union Pacific map maker D.D. Smalley's eccentric attic museum delighted children and adults alike with the residue of his myriad hobbies. Petrified dinosaur dung was shelved cheek-by-jowl with, among thousands of other things, model ships, homemade objets d'art, an extensive arrowhead collection and cigar boxes full of hundreds of thousands of commonplace postage stamps tied with string into identical bundles of 100. After Smalley's death, his grandchildren Frank Davis and Vikki Fruit operated the museum sporadically until they sold the house in 1994. Then the museum was boxed up and sent into exile at Fruit's Hill Country barn, until this spring, when Brazos Projects, the Rice Building Workshop, the Davis grandchildren and indefatigable volunteer Helen Fosdick teamed up to reinstall the museum, knick by knack, in a space next to Brazos Bookstore. If anything, its long absence from Houston has made our hearts grow fonder of this wondrous curiosity cabinet and testament to knowledge for its own sake.


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