James H. Chillman Jr. joins the Rice faculty as an instructor in architecture; he is named a professor of architecture in 1947 and the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Fine Arts in 1960. From 1924-1953, Professor Chillman serves as the founding director of the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, a part-time position during his tenure. When the museum decides its director must serve full time in 1953, Chillman chooses to remain at Rice, but he steps in as the museum's Interim Director in 1959-1961. His 55 years of service to Rice and Houston end with his death in 1972.
In the 1950s Chillman airs "Art is Fun," a popular radio program that builds interest in fine arts in the Houston community. The show emphasizes popular artistic currents, new art and cultural activity in Houston.