The Villa Antigua® Border Heritage Museum, a program of the Webb County Heritage Foundation, celebrated ten years of operation as a showcase for changing exhibits and events featuring the history and culture of the binational border region with a glittering reception for its members and preservation partners. The celebration and public reception on December 13th brought together representatives from county, city, and national government, as well as partner organizations, corporate citizens, philanthropists, and community members who helped turn this dream into a reality.
The mission of the Villa Antigua project is to educate the public on the important role the Texas-Mexico border plays in shaping regional, national, and bi-national history, traditions, and industry. It has become an anchor for the growing cultural heritage tourism industry in Laredo and the border region.
Throughout the program that night, the audience was presented with a series of photographs documenting the process of the museum’s transformation from a building slated for demolition into a spectacular example of downtown economic revitalization through historic preservation. Audience members were visibly moved by the prior dilapidated state of the building and its systematic rebirth as a beautiful community venue.
U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, who was an early supporter of the project, commended the Webb County Heritage Foundation on its dedication to making the historic heart of the city beat once again with the adaptive re-use of these historic structures. Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina, likewise, congratulated the Foundation on its foresight in embarking on this restoration project at a time when “downtown revitalization was not cool yet”. He also articulated his commitment to continuing with Phase II of the Villa Antigua Project which includes another round of historic rehabilitation on adjacent property.
Former County Judge Mercurio Martinez, Jr. and former County Commissioner Judith G. Gutierrez were singled out by the Foundation for being champions of the Villa Antigua project as far back as 1999 when the Foundation first envisioned this work and sought their support.
Numerous individuals in attendance were also named as “Preservation Partners” for their professional or personal participation in making this museum a reality. International Bank of Commerce, Frank Architects, Zertuche Construction, former WCHF Board President Maria Eugenia Calderon-Porter, Bill Skeen, the Anonymous Angel Trust, and administrative heads of various county and city departments were acknowledged.
For more information, please contact the Webb County Heritage Foundation at 956-727-0977 or