Blinn College Blinn A to Z | Directory | About Us | Employment | Support Blinn     

April 11, 2013

Star of the Republic Museum director presented Outstanding Service Award

Houston McGaugh has guided Star of the Republic for more than 25 years

Houston McGaugh (left) Dr. Ellie Caston (right) Houston McGaugh, director of the Star of the Republic Museum administered by Blinn College, was recently awarded the Texas Association of Museums (TAM) Jack Nokes Outstanding Service Award.

Presented at the association’s annual meeting in Beaumont, the award was established to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the museum field and the Texas museum community. The award is named in honor of former TAM Executive Director Jack Nokes.

McGaugh is the fifth person to receive the honor since the award’s inception in 2008.

“The Texas museum community is fortunate to have someone of Houston’s stature and expertise advancing the field,” said TAM Executive Director Ruth Ann Rugg. “With this recognition, Houston joins a distinguished group of museum professionals who exemplify excellence and devoted service to the field.”

McGaugh was also elected by his peers to serve a two-year term as a TAM councilor-at-large.

McGaugh has 37 years of museum education and administration experience and has been director at Star of the Republic since 1987. He earned his Master of Museum Science degree from Texas Tech University in 1976 and served five years as director of education at the Museum of Science and History in Little Rock, Ark., where he earned an Award of Merit from the Arkansas Museum Association in 1981. He also served as curator of Education at the Strecker Museum (now the Mayborn Museum) at Baylor University for three years.

McGaugh was president of the Central Texas Museum Association and was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards to serve on the Sam Houston Bicentennial Commission and the Stephen F. Austin Bicentennial Commission. He oversaw the complete renovation of Star of the Republic Museum from 1998-2002, which produced award-winning exhibits recognized with a certificate of commendation from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), and was instrumental in the development of the educational website,, which won an award of merit from the AASLH.

McGaugh recently led the development of a mobile app that allows visitors to see the town of Old Washington as it would have appeared in 1836 while they tour the historic site.

Star of the Republic Museum is located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site off state Highway 105.  It was created by the Texas Legislature and is administered by Blinn College as a cultural and educational institution. Daily museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 936-878-2461 or visit: