Texas Historical Commission Honors Lockhart Timepiece Museum Founder

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recognized Southwest Museum of Clocks & Watches President Gene Galbraith with the John L. Nau, III Award of Excellence in Museums for his expertise in the specialized field of timepiece restoration. He was also honored for his work on the Texas Tower Clock Initiative, which focused on the stewardship, repair, and preservation of historic tower clocks in 15 historic Texas courthouses. In addition, Galbraith was recognized for his public outreach efforts to educate the public about the history of clocks through museum exhibits and other educational events.

The honor was presented at the Southwest Museum of Clocks & Watches in Lockhart during a special ceremony on March 23. The award recognizes an individual in the museum field for significant achievement in the areas of historical interpretation, museum education, and conservation of collections and/or community involvement. Named for former THC Chairman John L. Nau, III, the award includes a monetary stipend for the honoree’s museum.

Galbraith is skilled in clock repair and has extensive knowledge about the history of clocks. He presented a training workshop on historic tower clocks through the THC’s Historic Texas Courthouse Stewardship Program. Under Galbraith’s direction, the museum developed a highly successful hands-on approach to horology that teaches the science of measuring time and preserves clock-making skills. The initiative is a teaching tool for children, visitors, county officials, and historians.

Prior to founding the Southwest Museum of Clocks & Watches in 2007, Galbraith was an expert in restoring antique clocks, and a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.

“It is with great respect that we recognize Gene Galbraith’s vision and leadership in establishing the Southwest Clock and Watch Museum, and for his highly regarded expertise in a very specialized trade,” said THC Commissioner August Harris. “Galbraith can literally step back in time and painstakingly and meticulously restore these iconic time pieces to their original condition. Teaching and inspiring others to learn this craft is equally worthy of our appreciation, because it ensures that this unique skill, and the beautiful results achieved through it, will be preserved for generations to come.”

Galbraith was featured in the 2011 issue of the THC’s Courthouse Cornerstones for his unique skills, where he discussed his joy in restoring the complex mechanisms with his apprentices in Lockhart, and hearing that “unmistakable heartbeat of the seconds ticking.”

The Southwest Museum of Clocks & Watches is located at 101 E. San Antonio St. in Lockhart.

For more information about THC awards, visit www.thc.state.tx.us or contact the agency’s History Programs Division at 512.463.5853.