Museum of South Texas History

The Museum of South Texas History has stewardship over the historic 1910 Old Hidalgo County Jail. The building has deep ties to its community, as it has housed multiple public departments for its local citizens. Originally constructed as a county jail, it was also used as City Hall, as a Fire Station, and offices for the Police Department. When the Museum assumed its management, they repurposed its use for exhibits and archives. Due to severe rising damp, they were forced to abandon it. Our team produced its master plan with cost estimating, and the Museum spent ten years fund raising for its full restoration.

This was a complex project and, working closely with our engineers, we developed a program to resolve the destructive moisture conditions causing the accelerated loss of its historic building material. Rising damp from subgrade moisture was damaging interior finishes and masonry up to the second-floor level, with large blooms of efflorescence (salt deposits). This project involved substantial masonry restoration, including replacement of the first-floor concrete slab and the installation of interior and exterior through-wall damp coursing. This intervention resolved the moisture infiltration and allowed the building to return to service as a museum environment and events venue.

Professional Photography by Dror Baldinger, FAIA. Project Images by Hutson Gallagher, LLC.