The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

March 23, 2007

Museum to honor Briggs with exhibit

Staff Reports

PALESTINE — The Museum for East Texas Culture will honor well-renowned artist the late Osjetea Briggs with an exhibit during the three weekends of the Dogwood Trails.

A native of Limestone County, Briggs attended school in Groesbeck, before moving to Palestine in early 1950’s.

For more than four decades she was a well-known expert in all phases of photography and won both national and international awards for her column “Walk in My Moccasins.”

The column was published in her weekly newspaper, “The Elkhart Eagle” as well as other publications. A book by the same name was published in 1992 and is still available for purchase at the museum.

Briggs was involved in many organizations – among them the Palestine Playhouse, which is the predecessor of the Palestine Community Theatre. She also owned a photography studio, was director of a local beauty pageant in early 50’s and founded and was counselor for the Council of Honor, which honored at least 20 local citizens for their years of service in the community.

“We believe this will be a nostalgic look back in time for a lot of our visitors,” museum board president Charlotte Whitaker said. “We have many photographs Osjetea took through-out the years as well as photos of her and her life’s work.

“There are a lot of unidentified photographs in her collection,” Whitaker explained, “and we wanted to have this exhibit during the Dogwood Trails celebration hoping visitors would be able to help with the identification of the photographs and dates they were taken.”

When Briggs first came to Palestine she discovered the Reagan Monument in Reagan Park and wanted to know just exactly who John Reagan was. After making that discovery, Briggs became fascinated by Reagan and devoted one of her columns to him — sharing just how she felt about the honorable man.

Through the years Briggs painted three portraits of Reagan — one hangs in the Federal Building and two are located in the museum. The photo used to paint the two portraits is shown in the museum’s exhibit along with the original copy of the column she wrote about Reagan.

One of the Reagan portraits hangs in the Reagan Room on the upper floor of the museum and the other in the main hallway over the collection of Reagan documents.

There are three other portraits she has painted located in the museum. The portraits of Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee are all located near the Reagan Room on the upper floor of the museum.