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Try This: Houston Museum of Decorative Arts tour

The Houston Museum of Decorative Arts located in Chattanooga, TN is the home of the eclectic collection of Anna Safley.

NOOGAtoday | Houston Museum

The Houston Museum of Decorative Arts is nestled in the Bluff View Arts District.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

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Did you know there are thousands of antique items from the collection of one individual on display at a museum in Chattanooga? We didn’t either.

Editors Kristen and Haley recently toured the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts with its Operations Director Pam Reed. We were able to learn about the museum’s history, check out some of the incredible collections, and hear about exciting happenings.

Brief history

The Houston Museum of Decorative Arts features the collections of Anna Safley Houston, a woman who moved to Chattanooga in 1904. Anna had an antique business and was known for traveling and collecting items from the US, Canada, and Mexico.

In the 1930s, Anna single-handedly built a barn-like structure to house herself and her collection. Before her death in 1951, she was able to organize the museum + left her estate to 100 museum trustees (these were community members who wanted to help save Anna’s collection).

NOOGAtoday | Houston Museum glass pitchers

Museum trustees counted 15,000 glass pitchers found in Anna’s barn.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

The collection

When you enter the Houston Museum, you are met with thousands of antique items ranging from glass pitchers, tea cups, furniture, music boxes, quilts, steins — and more (and we mean a lot more).

The museum is located in an old home, so each room contains different portions of Anna’s collection. The amount of items + the pristine condition they are in is pretty incredible. Some of the items that are included in the collection are even on display at places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art — except you don’t have to travel to New York City to see them for yourself.


The museum recently announced it will host its first-ever artist-in-residence Kris Bespalec who created work inspired by Anna’s collection. An opening reception for Bespalec’s “Acts of Preservation” exhibition will be on Friday, May 19 from 6-8 p.m.

Make sure to follow the museum’s Instagram page for fun facts about the collection + upcoming events.

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