The Baytown Museum of Network Archaeology
Schuette, Paul E.
Master of Architecture
The city of Baytown, located approximately 30 miles to the east of Houston, can be described as one of the primary generators of Houston's post World War II rise from city to megalopolis. The city sits adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel, which has spawned the international port of call, the Port of Houston. Within its borders, Baytown has witnessed the rise and proliferation of what might be called the 20th century's super-commodity, oil. Oil producers extracted millions of barrels of oil within Baytown in the first half of the twentieth century and processed them within the city's many refineries. As demands for synthetic products grew during World War II, Baytown's refineries and oil processing facilities produced plastics that would be used for a wide-range of synthetic products. Baytown contains the largest refinery in the United States and the second largest in the world. The Baytown Museum of Network Archaeology seeks to uncover the physical infrastructures that allow Baytown to function as a huge oil-based economic generator. Its primary goal is one of revealing, a revealing of both the mechanisms of production an how ultimately those lead to the consumption of a goods that the first world consumer may encounter hundreds of times per day. Although the Museum is centered in Baytown, its subject, petrochemical infrastructure, continues out endlessly in the world around us.