Exhibit on journalist Ed Holder to be featured at Museum of the Gulf Coast

Ed Holder photo

Nature has long been a muse for artists, scientists and even politicians. The late Ed Holder understood that. He knew that nature deserved to be loved and appreciated, but also protected. Holder, who passed away in 2005, was a prolific journalist, photographer and proponent for nature conservation who is now being honored for his work with an exhibit at the Museum of the Gulf Coast that opens Aug. 18 and closes Jan. 5, 2019.

“The exhibit is called ‘The Great Outdoors with Ed Holder,’” said Curator of the Museum of the Gulf Coast Sarah Bellian. “It is a retrospective of the photography and the writing of Ed Holder.”

Holder’s son Fred wrote a small biography of his father that he submitted to the Museum of the Gulf Coast. In the biography, Fred said that his father, who was first born in Wichita Falls in 1932, enjoyed hunting and fishing as well as writing and photography growing up, which led him to his lifelong career as a journalist and then more specifically a position as outdoors editor for the Port Arthur News. He wrote weekly and bi-weekly columns titled “The Great Outdoors with Ed Holder” which is where the exhibit got its name.

Ed later went on to become the outdoor editor of the Beaumont Enterprise & Journal in 1971. Four years later, he became assistant publisher and vice president of the Enterprise Company that owned the Enterprise & Journal, all while still writing his outdoor columns. After that, he became the vice president of Hartman Newspapers Inc. until the 1990s when he returned to the Port Arthur News to continue his work as the outdoors editor. Throughout his career, Ed also hosted radio shows on KPAC in Port Arthur and KLVI in Beaumont, and submitted articles for publications such as Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Outdoorsman and more.

The exhibit will host Ed’s work, including photography and writing that not only captured the natural beauty of Southeast Texas in the mid-to-late 20th century, but also fought for it.

“One of the things that attracted me to this work, when Fred first brought it to the museum several years ago, was how Mr. Holder really had stated for the public consumption, in the newspaper, some of these major conservation and environmental issues that were taking place in the ’60s and ’70s, when it was not always a popular position to take,” Bellian remarked.

Many facets of Ed’s career will be featured in the exhibit including objects and memorabilia such as outdoors equipment used in the time of Ed’s career.

“We have cameras. We are going to have decoys, we are going to have rifles,” said Bellian. “There is going to be a little bit of … not just a look at his photography with the hunting and fishing and conservation, but also a look back at the ’60s and ’70s from an outdoors perspective with baits and tackle and all that kind of stuff.”

The exhibit was created to not only honor Ed Holder and his decades-spanning career, but also enlighten the next generation on why conservation is important and continue the ever-changing dialogue on our natural surroundings.

“Having an exhibit of this type offers us an opportunity to connect with (the children using) stuff that they may experience and understand and (then) explain it to them,” said Bellian. “Almost all these kids have been fishing, but they don’t necessarily know why we care how big the fish is, what is the reason we can’t keep it if it's little. … This is an opportunity to talk to the children about conservation, which is something that they don’t really get in school and it's extremely important to our area.”

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is at 700 Procter St. in Port Arthur and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Sundays and Holidays. For more information, visit www.museumofthegulfcoast.org or call (409) 982-7000