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“Quirky Texas!”

The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art
Ranked #82 of 319 things to do in Houston
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A celebration of everyone's favorite citric fruit: art and memorabilia of and about the orange.
Reviewed April 26, 2013

The Orange Show is the brainchild of Mr. Jeff McKissack, who spent his life, and his money on this project. He obviously had a special relationship with oranges, but he also liked orange as a color.
He spent about 25 years of his life to build this “house”, that he thought was going to be a great success. He died three months after he opened the house to the public, without seeing his “creature” coming to fame. Someone even said that he died of a broken heart because of the failure of his project. It’s all a different story now, as Mr. Jeff McKissack continues to live through “The Orange Show” and the foundation that has been created after his death, that takes care of eclectic artists from all over the world. The Orange Show is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places designated by the United States Department of the Interior. If you’re really in the mood for something eclectic, pay a visit there, the lady that let us in today was very nice, she gave us two postcards, and a questionnaire with weird questions Mr. McKissack himself formulated. For $1 each, you really have to come see it! Because of all the colors, the place reminded me of a Gaudi project with a strong Picasso influence, I hope you get the feeling!

1  Thank NiKkOsAn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 - 42 of 48 reviews

Reviewed March 24, 2013

Wonderfully odd! 30 years in the making. Free beer , water and sodas, but you can make a donation. We saw a concert by Mother Falcon there. I don't know what else they have as entertainment. It looks like Dr. Suess crazy metal sculpture/tile artsy. It's in a neighborhood. It puts you in a good mood to be there because its so wild.

Thank numberoneGonzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2012

We visited my sister, Monica, in Texas this summer, and she and her husband took us to Houston's Orange Show. With her tongue firmly in her cheek, Monica told us it was someplace she had always wanted to go. Her husband asked “Why???”

Just for fun! (The word quirky comes to mind.)

We had heard about it and watched a little video created by the man who built it. That was enough for our husbands!

My kindred-spirit sister and I dressed in orange for the occasion. Our husbands both rolled their eyes and shook their heads. I think I heard John murmur the word, “Deranged…”

The Orange Show was built by Jeff McKissack, a Houston mail man. It was 1956 when he got the idea, and began to work on this monument to the orange, a fruit he adored. The man was obsessed with oranges for their beauty and nutritional value. He purchased two lots adjoining his own yard at 2401 Munger Street, and proceeded to build...

He said he got the idea from seeing buildings he saw being razed as he walked his mail route. “Roof tiles from the Old Capital Theater, a fire escape at Stowers Furniture, and a miniature of the San Jacinto Monument at The State Hotel”

The Orange Show is hard to explain. It's a garish display of concrete, and tons of brightly painted scrap metal welded together. There's a lot of tile work décor – borders, signs, and slogans. (And we noticed that spelling was not his strong suit.) McKissack was a busy man. His Orange Show covers at least two lots in the quiet neighborhood where he lived. It has multiple levels with decks, balconies and catwalks which are reached by a variety of metal stairways.

I wonder what the neighbors thought. And think...

When we arrived the place was pretty much deserted and we weren't sure what to do. But moments later a lady, apparently the caretaker, walked out of the house across the street and took our admission – a dollar each. She invited us to go on in and explore and have fun. Then she went back into her house and we were on our own to wander and wonder.

A sign tells visitors that “Anticipation of opening day was the fuel that
propelled McKissack to complete The Orange Show. He told people that he figured 80 to 90% of the people in the country would want to see The Orange Show. Of course not all of them would be able to come, but he expected 300,000 or so a year.”

It opened on May 9th 1079 and 150 people came. McKissack himself conducted tours, and described future plans, explaining the use of steam in parts of his display, demonstrating the mechanical parts, and explaining the history and the symbolism of the exhibit. He said, “The show is built around historical events like the wheel. I have 85 of them, all sizes up to five feet in diameter…some of the wheels are over 100 years old.”

The Orange Show didn't live up to Jeff McKissack’s expectations, but every part of it reflects his enthusiasm and optimism. We did not get the impression that he was disappointed in his life’s work.

Since 1980, when Jeff McKissack died, The Orange Show has evolved into a non-profit organization called Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Art patrons in Houston keep foundation alive, and provide programming for children and adults that includes music, storytelling and hands-on workshops.

It was worth the dollar admission just to walk around and laugh and wonder, and we had to admire Jeff McKissack's enthusiasm for his project! We would not recommend it as a place to take small children and the is no handicap access.

Thank PaladiniPotpie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2012 via mobile

Go if you've never been! Very interesting and unique! Hard to describe if you've never been.

Thank GailASunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

This Orange Show is quirky, coloful and fun. I love taking out of town guests to see the house. While the man who built it was a bit koo-koo, it is wonderful to see the collection of scrap items put together in a wonderful presentation. I love this place! This is on my list of attractions for out of town guests.

1  Thank SeriousBiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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