Barney Smith and His Toilet Seat Art Museum

Barney Smith in his small, metal garage in the heart of the Alamo Heights neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas

Passions and hobbies come in all shapes and sizes, including toilet seats. Barney Smith decorated and customized toilet seats for over 50 years, passing away at 98 years old in 2019. His life’s work is currently on display at the Truck Yard beer garden in Houston, Texas, carefully relocated from his garage in San Antonio, Texas.

Barney Smith’s original Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas

Over 1,400 Decorated Toilet Seats

The process of art creation is typically very personal, and it turns out that decorating over a thousand toilet seats is no exception to that rule. A stroll through the marvelous Toilet Seat Art Museum clarifies that Barney Smith put his life experiences into his work, with each seat reflecting a piece of his journey.

What once was a quirky roadside attraction has become a glimpse into the life of the retired plumber turned artist. From carefully documented vacations to representations of wedding anniversary celebrations, there isn’t a toilet seat in the museum that doesn’t tell a story.

An Unintentional Historic Timeline

Barney Smith has created a timeline through history in the form of unwanted toilet seats. A walk through the museum will take visitors from the JFK assassination to the eruption of Mount St. Helens and through the O.J. Simpson trial.

Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum at the Truck Yard beer garden in Houston, Texas

There are few pieces of the past that Barney Smith hasn’t touched. It is a timeline of United States historical events and a look into the perspective of a man who lived through each of those events. When we put it like that, it’s so much more than toilet seats.

The Last of Its Kind

As roadside attractions in America fade to a thing of the past, it’s uplifting that the Toilet Seat Art Museum of Barney Smith is still accessible. It reminds us of what seems like a simpler time when we enjoyed our hobbies and took the time to relay long stories over a cup of coffee or pitcher of iced tea.

Barney’s toilet attraction encompasses feeling, entertainment, and awe. It’s not traditional, but it’s definitely an art.