Our Founder, Captain Paul Matthews, and his wife, Barbara, had a long conversation about what they would do with the many books and artifacts they had collected over the years.
After many years of collecting and storing military memorabilia in the garage, the infiltration of the dining room (specifically the dining room table) initiated the museum discussion.
We conducted an inventory of artifacts and organized major military engagements: American Revolution, Civil War, Indian War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Persian Gulf.
The inaugural board consisted of family, friends, church members, fraternity brothers, and coworkers. Paul was the chairman, and Barbara managed all administrative duties.
Paul and Barbara donated $100,000 as startup capital for the museum. Board members donated an additional $25,000.
Several board members were corporate executives, and they were instrumental in developing the business plan. Each board member was given the task of developing specific components of the business plan (mission statement, goals, objectives, finance, marketing, promotion, etc.). In addition, one board member was an accountant, and he assisted with the management of expenses, revenue, and other accounting practices and procedures.
We hired an accountant, Mr. Anthony Hawkins of AWH & Associates, to assist with forming the corporation and filing for nonprofit status.
After filing documents with the Texas Secretary of State to open a museum as the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and Heritage Center, we needed consent from another organization in Dallas that had the name Buffalo Soldier. We had several meetings with the group but were unable to come to a mutual agreement.
Therefore, we filed as Center for African American Military History (effective registration November 10, 2000) with a DBA Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (November 15, 2000 through November 15, 2010).
We did not have funds to conduct a feasibility study to determine the best location for a military museum. Because of Paul’s experience as a pharmaceutical executive, he knew that national pharmacies establish stores in profitable areas. Therefore, he instructed our realtor to locate a rental space near a national pharmacy chain.
We signed a contract to rent the first floor of a 3,500 sq. ft. two-story office building located next to a Walgreens.
To establish a presence and generate local interest, we contacted and developed a relationship with community liaison personnel at the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GHCVB), local news media, and joined the Houston Museum District Association and Cultural Arts Alliance. We recruited representatives from the GHCVB to join our Board and developed several marketing and promotional brochures.
Reverend Byron Stevenson blessed the building and our mission, and we opened the door for business.
3816 Caroline St.Houston, TX 77004
Thursday10AM–5PM1PM – 5PM (Free Admission)