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MARCH 2014
 
SPRING TRAINING WORKSHOPS FOR VOLUNTEERS
 
The Galveston County Museum is looking for volunteers! We're happy to announce that, after being in
temporary offices since Hurricane Ike, it is finally time for us to make the big move to our new home.
Whether you're an experienced professional or interested in learning what goes on behind the scenes at
a museum for the first time, we'd love to have you!
 
 
Workshop Schedule:
 
March 24th - Orientation and Basic Collections Care
9:00–1:00
If you’re interested in helping us get the museum collection ready for the big move in September,
please join us for this orientation and basic collections care workshop. If you’re already familiar with
handling museum collections, feel free to join us for only the first half (9:00–11:00), where we’ll
talk about goals and specifics of the Galveston County Museum collection. In the second half of the
workshop (11:00–1:00), we’ll cover object handling techniques, basic terminology, and some common
materials.
 
April 14th - PastPerfect Training
9:00–1:00
The Galveston County Museum uses the PastPerfect database to keep track of artifacts, photographs,
archives, and library holdings. If you’ve never used PastPerfect, or would just like a refresher, please
join us for this workshop and learn the basics of using museum database software.
 
April 28th - Building Mounts for Collections
9:00–12:00
If you’d like to work more with the museum collection, and you’re feeling crafty, this is the perfect
workshop for you. Learn how to build mounts for objects in the museum’s collection. These mounts
will ensure safe transportation to the new museum building, as well as facilitate easy evacuation in
the event of a natural disaster or other compromise to the storage facility.
 
May 5th - Museum Office Volunteer Training
9:00–12:00
Not comfortable handling objects? That’s ok! Have a knack for organizing? Perfect! You can come
help the museum and the Galveston County Historical Commission by maintaining marker and
subject files, and scanning and entering the files into PastPerfect. Basic PastPerfect training will be
provided at the workshop.
 
For more information, or to reserve a spot, please contact Nikki Diller at nikki.diller@co.galveston.tx.us or 409.765.2664. 
 
 
 
JANUARY 2014
 
GREATER BELL ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH RECEIVES OFFICAL TEXAS
HISTORICAL MARKER
 
GBZ Group Photo.JPG Bell Zion 2.jpg
    L to R Standing: Charlie B. Agbonkonkon, Ida Proctor, Lois Wilson, Connie Newsome,                                          Greater Bell Zion Missionary Baptist Church circa 1950.
    Vernon Thompson, Susan Jones, Eva Newsome, Helen D. Mooty, Pastor Jerry B. Lee Jr.
    Seated: Grace N. Ellis and Bessie Sanford
                                                                            
 
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized Greater Bell Zion Missionary Baptist Church as a significant part of Texas history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker.  The designation honors Greater Bell Zion as an important and educational part of local history.
 
A dedication service to commemorate the event will be held Sunday, January 19th beginning at 10:00 a.m. Immediately following the service, the unveiling of the historical marker will be held in front of the church located at 5917 Carver Avenue, in Texas City, TX 77591. Guest Speaker for the morning will include Alex Pratt, Professor Emeritus of History (Ret.) at College of the Mainland and long-time member of the Galveston County Historical Commission. The Galveston County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.

ORIGINAL SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING RECEIVES OFFICAL TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER 
 
SFISD Historical Marker Dedication Invitation.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Professional.jpg
                                                                 Original Santa Fe High School
 
 
 
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized Santa Fe ISD’s original 1928 high school building as a significant part of Texas history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker.  The designation honors the district as an important and educational part of local history.
 
In the late 1800s, the towns of Algoa, Arcadia, and Alta Loma each operated their own primary schools. By 1912, these communities began discussions to consolidate and establish an accredited high school. Santa Fe became the first consolidated school district in the county. This unique Spanish/Southwestern-style building was the high school for thirty-one years, until a new building was constructed. Now known as the “Old School Museum,” the repository for historical artifacts and photographs is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 3, and Saturdays 9 to 1.
 
“Santa Fe’s history is unique in that the school was established before the town was officially incorporated with the name of Santa Fe,” said Patti Hanssard of SFISD. “We are proud of this new partnership between the district and the local Santa Fe Area Historical Foundation. This building and its historical collection are a source of pride for our community and an educational resource for our students.”
 
A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on January 15at 13304 Highway 6 in Santa Fe at 5 pm.  Speakers will include school district, city and county officials. Tours of the building and its historical exhibits available after the marker unveiling ceremony.The Galveston County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.
 
DECEMBER 2013
 

 
JACK JOHNSON RECEIVES OFFICIAL STATE OF TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER

Jack_Johnson_boxer.JPG
                      Jack Johnson
 
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized ​Arthur John “Jack” Johnson as a significant part of Texas history by awarding him an Official Texas Historical Marker.  The designation honors Jack Johnson as an important and educational part of local history.
 
A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on February 1, 2014 at Jack Johnson Park, located at 2601 Avenue M, Galveston, Texas at 10:00 am.  Speakers for the morning will include Ms. Ann Landeros and Mr. Alex Borger. The Galveston County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.
 
“The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the THC.  “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history.  This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources,” Wolfe said.

A subject qualifies for a marker if two basic criteria are met: historical significance and age.  Historical significance is established by reviewing its role and importance in local history, and the age requirement depends on the topic.  The THC’s Official Texas Marker Policies are outlined in the Official Texas Historical Marker Procedures, which may be obtained by contacting the History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission, at 512/463-5853 or visiting the web site at www.thc.state.tx.us.

“The citizens of Galveston are thrilled to honor our very own ‘Galveston Giant.’  This Marker Ceremony shall serve as a celebration of such a diverse cultural history that exists on Galveston Island.  To have both a City Park and Texas Historic Marker in honor of Jack Johnson will allow generations of Texans to celebrate his life and Galveston’s rich history” said Hank Thierry, Chair of the Galveston Historic Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee.

Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with approximately 15,000 markers.  Seventeen states have used the Texas program as a model; the THC reviews more than 300 marker applications each year.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
NOVEM​BER 2013
 
 
 
JOYCINA BAKER NAMED THE OFFICIAL HISTORIAN OF FRIENDSWOOD
 
 
 
On November 4, Joycina Baker, Galveston County Historical Commission board member, was named the Official Historian of Friendswood.  You can read more about Joycina Baker's honor at Your Houston News.
 
 
 
 
 
OCTOBER 2013
 
 
 
FOURTH ANNUAL JANE LONG FESTIVAL ON BOLIVAR PENINSULA 
 
 
 
On October 12, the Galveston County Museum participated in the Jane Long Festival on Bolivar Peninsula. Organized by the Jane Long Society, the festival is an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the rich history of Bolivar Peninsula and honor the legacy of Jane Long, the Mother of Texas. It was an afternoon of education and entertainment, with vendors, historical reenactors, and a local theater troop participating in the festivities. You can learn more about the Jane Long Festival and the Jane Long Society on the Bolivar Peninsula Cultural Foundation website.
 
 
 
IMG_3628.JPG 
 
      Tony Rubino informed visitors to the Galveston County Museum booth  about the life of Jane Long.
 
 
 
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                                                       Educational panels helped tell the story of Jane Long. 
 
 
 
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                  Tom Rooney of the Texas Army participated in the  celebrations.
 
 
 
 
 
AUGUST 2013 
 

 
​ 
 
GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION 2013 SALLY B. WALLACE AWARDS
 

 
The Galveston Historical Foundation honored the 2013 Sally B. Wallace Award winners in a ceremony in the Topgallant Room of the Thomas Jefferson League Building, a building celebrated as an outstanding restoration in the ceremony. You can read more about the Sally B. Wallace Award winners, view photos from the event, and hear audio of the ceremony on the Guidry News web page. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MAY 2013 
 
 
 
 
 
SOUTH JETTY LIGHTHOUSE LENS RETURNS
 
 
 
For the first time since the ill winds of Hurricane Ike blew through Galveston in September 2008, the ingenious Fresnel lens from the South Jetty Lighthouse is on public display.  This large brass and cut-glass beacon is now installed in the lobby of the Galveston Commissioners Court Building at 722 Moody St. (21st Street).
 
 
 
The Fresnel Lighthouse Beacon developed from the pioneering research and experimentation in optical theory and diffraction of light by French physicist Augustin Jean Fresnel (1788-1827).  Based upon his ground-breaking studies, the Fresnel Beacon became the standard of lighthouses in all seven seas by the mid-1800’s.  Even today the Fresnel Beacon continues in widespread use in maritime nations throughout the world.
 
 
 
The beacon is constructed of a number of hand-ground pieces of glass that either reflect or diffract the light from the central source to orient all of the produced light into a beam of radiant brilliance.  The original light source was an incandescent oil vapor lamp.  This produced 23,000 candlepower.  Subsequently electricity became available to power a 1000 watt bulb producing 280,000 candlepower for a signal that could be seen by ships 15 to 20 miles away.
 
 
 
This Fresnel Lighthouse Beacon was the nucleus of the Galveston South Jetty Light, which was the last manned lighthouse built on the Texas coast.  It went into service in 1918 and continued to serve until closed in 1972 – giving 54 years of reliable guidance to seagoing vessels approaching the Texas port.
 
 
 
The vast expansion of the LORAN electronic signal system revolutionized coastal navigation and in large part made lighthouses obsolete.  Global satellite signals then made LORAN stations redundant.
 
 
 
Soon after the South Jetty Lighthouse closed, its Fresnel Beacon was given to the Galveston County Museum and proudly displayed in the museum on Market Street.  Hurricane Ike damaged that building and forced the museum to search for another location.  While the Galveston County Museum is a functioning entity, there has been no space suitable for public display until now.  Locating the Lighthouse Beacon in the County Courthouse lobby is a significant first step towards consolidating the offices, public display areas, and artifacts and historical resources in the County Courthouse complex.
 
 
 
A public reception for the South Jetty Fresnel Beacon is planned for Saturday, June 8.
 

 

 

MARCH 2012

 

DICK DOWNING CEREMONY 

 
Houston, Texas (March 11, 2012) – The 42nd Ceremonial Cleaning of the Dick Dowling Statue at Hermann Park will take place on Sunday, March 11 at 1:00 pm.  The Larry Miggins family, a Houston family of Irish descent, has taken the responsibility of cleaning the monument for Irish Confederate hero Dick Dowling since 1963.  The cleaning became a ceremonial event with a speaker, refreshments, and historical demonstrations in 1970.  This year’s speaker Helen D. Mooty, Director of the Galveston County Museum, will be appearing in the guise of Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long, the famous "Mother of Texas."  Mooty will speak on the topic of "Four Feisty Women of Texas" whose moxie and courage were significant in Texas history.
 
 
 
The monument for Dick Dowling was unveiled on St. Patrick's Day in 1905 as Houston's first public monument.  It is now at Hermann Park in the middle of a triangle near the intersection of Hermann Park Loop, Holcombe, and North MacGregor.  It is an eight foot statue of Italian marble on a twenty foot high granite base.  Richard (Dick) Dowling was born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1837 and his family came to America because of the Great Famine.  Although his business and civic accomplishments are impressive, Dowling is remembered today primarily for his role in leading a group of unruly Irish dockworkers to one of the greatest upsets in military history at the Civil War Battle of Sabine Pass.  The monument was placed originally at City Hall on Market Square in downtown Houston, and in 1958 was relocated to its present site.
 
 
 
Mooty will be appearing in costume portraying Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long, a woman who first came to Texas in 1819.  Long grew cotton to make uniforms for the Confederacy and vowed to use nothing that had been grown or made in the North.  Jane Long is famous as the "Mother of Texas" when she lived alone on Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County during the icy winter of 1821-1822.
 
 
 
“The Galveston County Museum supports Jane Long's role in Texas history through the Jane Long Festival every October in Bolivar, and in other Texas re-enactment events such as Austin Town in Brazoria County,” said Mooty.  Past speakers for the Dick Dowling ceremony have included congressmen, federal judges, historians, authors, and scholars.  On March 17, Mooty will also appear at the Greening of the Bayou and the Houston St. Patrick's Day parade as Jane Long.
 
 
 
The ceremony will take place at the southeast edge of Hermann Park near the intersection of Hermann Park Loop, Holcombe, and North MacGregor.  There will be a color guard from the Galveston John Hood brigade to salute Dowling, and a historically accurate Officers' Quarters camp set up with exhibits of Civil War paraphernalia.  The event is free and the public is welcome.  For more information call Larry Joe Miggins at (832) 347-8117.
 

 

 
August 2010 
 
 
 
GALVESTON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM SEEKS ARTIFACTS FROM THE HOTEL GALVEZ
 

 

 The Galveston County Historical Museum is collaborating with Hotel Galvez & Spa, A Wyndham Grand Hotel, to create a new history exhibit for the hotel’s centennial celebration. Items donated to the County Museum will become part of its permanent collection. 

 
 
 
“Our museum collects anything related to Galveston County history and at this time we are focusing efforts on getting new donations of materials related to Hotel Galvez,” says Galveston County Historical Museum Director Jodi Wright-Gidley. “The hotel already has several postcards but we are looking for additional unique items such as personal photographs, invitations to events, guest books, or other items that may have been original to the hotel but lost over the years.” Those interested in donating items should contact the museum at (409) 766-2340. Donated items are tax deductible. 
 
 
 
When Hotel Galvez opened in 1911, Galveston had finished building its 17-foot Seawall to protect the Island and its grade raising project which raised the grade of land to make buildings less susceptible to flooding in the event of future storms. The Causeway had been completed, now connecting Galveston Island to the mainland. All of these accomplishments were part of the Island’s recovery following the Great Storm of 1900.
 
 
 
The Hotel Galvez originally opened on June 10, 1911. This elegant beachfront hotel was immediately proclaimed “Queen of the Gulf” and within a year of opening, it was deemed the “best arranged and most richly furnished seaside hotel in America” by Hotel Monthly. Hotel Galvez still stands as a symbol of Galveston Island’s resilience in the face of disaster.
 

 

 
 
August 2010
 
 
DO YOU REMEMBER MR. SERRATO’S TAMALE CART?
 
 

The Galveston County Historical Museum is seeking photographs of the tamale cart used by Daniel Serrato at 25th and Broadway from about 1930-1950. The cart, now in the collection of the museum, will soon be restored. Work will include returning the cart to its original color and stabilizing loose parts. Galveston County History, Inc. is requesting donations to help fund the costs of restoration.

For about 30 years, Mr. Serrato, with his wife’s help, made hot tamales by hand and sold them from the pushcart near the Sealy home (Open Gates) and the Texas Heroes Monument. Thousands of locals and visitors to Galveston regularly purchased the homemade tamales. Mr. Serrato died in 1978 and the cart was given to a local Catholic church. Eventually, the cart became a part of the museum’s artifact collection.

Any one who has photographs of the tamale cart are asked to share them with the museum. “We know that the cart was originally blue. Paint samples from the cart, along with photographs from the public will ensure the restoration is accurate,” said museum director Jodi Wright-Gidley, “Also, we hope to get more information and first-hand stories that will further our research.” The tamale cart will be used in future exhibits at the museum once it reopens. The museum remains closed awaiting repairs from Hurricane Ike damage.

Donations are needed to fund the restoration of the cart, which will total $2400. The work will be done by a conservator who specializes in wood and metal artifacts. “I bet a lot of Galvestonians remember buying tamales from Mr. Serrato. If you do, please consider donating any amount, large or small, to help cover the costs of getting the cart restored,” added Wright-Gidley. Donations can be made to Galveston County History, Inc. at 123 Rosenberg, Suite 4157, Galveston, TX 77550. If you have photographs of the tamale cart as it looked in the 1930s-1950s, call the museum at 409-766-2340.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
July 2010

SATORI SCHOOL AND GALVESTON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM FORM PARTNERSHIP
 
The Galveston County Historical Museum is pleased to announce its upcoming partnership with the Satori School for the 2010-11 school year. This unique collaboration combines research-based practices with hands-on activities in order to provide the Satori students the opportunity to study their past and connect it with their present and future learning. Teachers and the museum director, Jodi Wright-Gidley, will work together on integrated units, utilizing artifacts and activities provided by the museum.
 
 
 
“Learning through objects, namely artifacts from the museum’s collection, is going to bring the classroom lessons to life,” said new Satori Director Claire Wilkins. “We are very excited about this unique opportunity for our students.” This program is modeled after several successful museum schools including the Fort Worth Museum School at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the New York City Museum School. 
 
 
“Since the museum remains closed while we await repairs from Hurricane Ike damage, our staff has concentrated on ways we can take the museum out into the public. One of those ways has been to go into local classroom to show artifacts and historic photographs to reach about local history,” said Wright-Gidley. “This new partnership with Satori is an exciting extension of that idea. Students will learn in a real hands-on setting where they can study historic photographs, see artifacts up-close, do interesting research projects.”
 
 

July 2010

 

 SATORI SCHOOL AND GALVESTON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM FORM PARTNERSHIP
 

 The Galveston County Historical Commission is accepting applications for state historical markers. The deadline is August 20. Applications are reviewed by the local historical commission, then submitted to the Texas Historical Commission in Austin for processing. If you are interested in applying for a historical marker, contact Jodi Wright-Gidley at 409.766.2340.

“The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission. “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources,” Wolfe said. 

A subject qualifies for a marker if two basic criteria are met: historical significance and age. Historical significance is established by reviewing its role and importance in local history, and the age requirement depends on the topic. The THC’s Official Texas Marker Policies are outlined in the Official Texas Historical Marker Guidelines and Application Form, which may be obtained by contacting the History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission, at 512/463-5853 or visiting the web site at www.thc.state.tx.us.

There are two types of Texas Historical Markers. Subject markers are posted solely for educational awareness and awarded more frequently than the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 
(RTHL), which is a legal designation for historic structures and comes with a measure of protection. Unlike subject markers, the RTHL must also meet a third criterion--architectural integrity.
Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with over 14,000 markers. Seventeen states have used the Texas program as a model; the THC reviews more than 200 marker applications each year. 
 
April 2010
 
 
COUNTY MUSEUM SEEKS MATERIALS RELATED TO WORLD WAR II
 
 
Are you a veteran that served in World War II? Did you serve in the WACs or WAVES? Or work at the Todd Shipyards? Do you have photographs, documents, or artifacts relating to the time period of World War II? If so, please share them with the County Museum. The museum is actively collecting these materials, either through donation or loan.

Although the museum has not reopened – at least not in the traditional sense of a museum with artifact exhibits for the public to view – the staff of the County Museum has been very busy since Hurricane Ike. Current projects include research, photographing artifacts, scanning photographs and transcribing documents. “All of this work is in preparation for future exhibits, but more importantly, it is simply our mission,” said Director Jodi Wright-Gidley. “People throughout the county suffered many losses from the hurricane, including precious pieces of history like photographs or other artifacts. There will be more storms, and I would hate to see more history lost to the flood waters. I encourage everyone to consider donating or allowing the museum to scan historic photographs and documents.” The museum has a new storage facility that is secure, above flood levels, and large enough to allow the museum’s collection to grow.

Although the museum collects any photograph, document or artifact that pertains to the history of Galveston County, we are currently concentrating on collecting items that relate to World War II. In Galveston County, a wide range of activities took place during the war at area bases like Fort Crockett and Camp Wallace. The Hotel Galvez was occupied by the Coast Guard, WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and the Women’s Army Corp. “We are hoping to obtain a wide range of materials that will help us understand all the things going on around Galveston County during World War II. The more diverse museum collection we can build, the more complete history we can preserve and pass on to future generations,” adds Wright-Gidley.

Some people may not be willing to part from their heirlooms yet. In those cases, the museum asks for permission to scan photographs or documents which may be used for research and in future exhibits. In many cases, museum staff can scan your images and documents while you wait. 

If you are interested in donating to the museum or allowing the staff scan  photographs or documents, please contact the museum at 409.766.2340.