Supporting Historic Museums

Supporting Historic Museums

“As they are for home-town residents everywhere, the local attractions always are just ‘there,’ with seemingly plenty of time to stop in. Trips to distant attractions beckon, and we don’t discount the road trip’s enduring appeal. But somehow time to visit the local sites never seems to materialize, and it’s always in the wake of such disasters that we finally learn what we’ve lost. So here’s a plea to take advantage of your local historic sites, support them however you might—both volunteer help and financial aid are eagerly sought and gratefully accepted—and appreciate how truly fragile our collective past is before it’s too late.”
– James M. Tarbox, History Channel Magazine, regarding the institutions flooded in Cedar Rapids IA in 2008

museum_roanokeAn abundance of hidden gems are scattered across our nation, a lot of them tucked away in our own backyards. Many of us drive past them every day, unware or unappreciative of their existence.

Local historic museums preserve the memories of the early days of our communities. They tell the stories of a time long past.

These museums vary from small one-room monuments to rambling historic villages containing an assortment of log cabins, old houses, mercantiles and jails.

They have one thing in common.

They need us.

Without the support of the community, volunteers and donations, these small museums are at risk. Many are barely surviving. Too many have already locked their doors, unable to remain afloat.

Many of these share several common denominators. Most are run by small volunteer organizations, stretching their resources thin to remain open to public. Most usually exist on shoe-string budgets, without the benefit of massive funding enriching them. A large portion of the local museums offer free admittance, or only charge a nominal fee, usually in the $2-$5 range. While this isgreat for the visitor, it doesn’t help the museum pay for their monetary needs.

How can we help these local facilities preserve our local heritage and history? What can we do to ensure these establishments remain in existence to protect and remember our past?

We can help these little time capsules in three major ways: Volunteer, Support and Promote, and Donate.

I can hear your arguments already. I don’t have time to volunteer. I don’t like to speak in front of people. I can never remember all that history for the docent spiel. I can’t commit to a regular volunteer schedule.

Never fear! Life is hectic and time is a premium for most of us. I certainly know that. Your local organizations know it too. But, there are ways to volunteer without committing to a huge weekly chunk of time. You don’t need to be a polished public speaker to help out your local historical treasure.


  • Be a docent on a weekly or monthly basis
  • Help with special events
  • Cataloge items
  • Collect oral histories
  • Write their newsletter
  • Write an article for a local paper
  • Assist with web site design
  • Aide with video services
  • Donate graphics or logos
  • Apply for grants
  • Help with cleaning, changing exhibits, or maintaining the premises


  • Become a member (of the museum, of the historical society, or of The Friends)
  • Attend special events
  • Bring visiting family and friends
  • Promote to family, friends, and neighbors
  • Promote on social media
  • Help with promotions/PR


  • Share your family’s stories
  • Donate items of local, or period, significance
  • Give contributions or endowments
  • Entrance fee only $2? Put $5, $10 or $20 in the basket instead.
  • Donate needed equipment like computers, printers, video recording equipment, tape recorders for oral history, stamps, printer paper, or ink cartridges. How about some cleaning supplies or trash bags? Legal pads, pens and pencils? Not sure what they need? Just ask!

museum_iowaI have a personal story to share, about how a group of volunteers worked together cohesively, to create a very successful event. In August 2014, I delivered a set of 1934 quilt squares to a museum in Iowa. The Taylor County Historical Society, and the entire community, welcomed me with open hearts showing me true Iowa hospitality. They planned a special tea and I flew in from Texas, taking 20 fliers with me, hoping that we’d have at least that many people attend.

The reception literally knocked my socks off. The museum, in the midst of rural Iowa complete with the surrounding corn fields as far as the eye could see, hosted 72 guests that afternoon. Many museums in urban areas with a much larger population would be excited to have a crowd that large.

QW5_Ellens poemThe only reason the day was so successful, was due to the time and efforts of their dedicated volunteers. Rosalyn Cummings, the (unpaid) director, worked tirelessly to coordinate the event. Helen Janson, past museum director, and her daughter, Jeanne Janson, spent time in research and brought copies of newspaper articles about the quilting club established in 1934. Ellen Lemke, the museum’s oldest volunteer at 99 years young (Now 100, as of May 2015) entertained the crowd with a lively talk about quilting and art, finishing with reading one of her poems on the subject. Bonnie Polston decorated a cake, complete with a coordinating Sunbonnet Sue, for the occasion. Other volunteers, Sandi Salen, Scott Marcum, Sandy Kennedy and Mary Lou Dukes, worked together seamlessly, greeting guests, getting more chairs as needed, helping serve cake and punch, besides the time and efforts they all put into this before the first guest arrived.

These wonderful volunteers are the ‘proof that’s in the pudding’. The love, care and concern that they have for their local museum shines out in all they do, even in the behind the scenes tasks that no one ever sees.

I hope something here resonates with you and urges you to contact your own local museum to see how you can be of assistance. There should be something that you can help with, without taking a huge amount of time or effort. I’m sure they’ll be ecstatic at your offer and you’ll have the satisfaction and pleasure of knowing you’re part of a group preserving the memories of the past. Your favorite museum can remain open and history is accessible to those interested in it.

Where is the hidden gem in your area?

Have you been there? Have you visited recently?

This week, give them a call. Check what hours they’re open and stop by for a visit. Take a peek into the past and see how you can be a friend to these local treasures.

Trisha Faye is enthusiastic about supporting and maintaining places of historic interest. Based in Roanoke, Texas, she writes of people from the past. Her ebooks include: Wash on Monday and Dear Arlie: Postcards from a Friend (1907-1913). She also compiled Texas Historic Museums: North Texas. Visit her at


Now Available: Texas Historic Museums: North Texas

Heritage Park in Euless – the first brick house in Euless, an 1850’s log cabin and an old barn from Camp Bowie lumber.

I want to go there!

Chestnut Square Historic Village in McKinney – a living history museum demonstrating how people lived in early Collin County.

I want to go there!

Heritage Farmstead in Plan – a living history museum on 4 ½ acres.

I want to go there!

A walking tour in Rockwall.

I want to do that too!

The list keeps growing, longer and longer from week to week. Places I want to see and visit. Museums, sites, and heritage villages that will take me back in time.

And this is without the places where I’ve been that I want to return to: Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth. Dublin, the home of Dr. Pepper. Fort Richardson in Jacksboro. And so many more.

North Texas LKO CoverOh, there’s so many places of historical interest, just here in north Texas. As I kept adding new places, it turned into a massive list. Over 130 sites, just in the north Texas counties around me. And thus, TEXAS HISTORIC MUSEUMS: NORTH TEXAS was born.

I’ve added a few military and aviation museums, a doll museum, and a bowling museum. While not necessarily reflecting the history of a specific region, these museums are history and a walk back in time.

Do you like history?

Do you like visiting historic sites?

Do you want to discover new, fun places to visit?

Then this is for you!

Texas Historic Museums: North Texas edition is available from Trisha Faye as either an electronic PDF file, or a printed and comb-bound copy. It’s also available in several formats from Smashwords.

Electronic versions available for only $3.99. Printed copies $5.99, plus shipping and handling.

Get your copy today and you’ll be ready for a weekend of new adventures!

Founder’s Day, Rockwall Texas

Live anywhere near Rockwall Texas?

Looking for something to do on Saturday, May 16th?

Here’s a Founder’s Day event chock full of fun activities from the past.

Rockwall founders day
Saturday May 16
9am to 5pm

BBD_butter makingExperience Living History Exhibits:

Spinning, Blacksmithing, Chuck Wagon with Dutch Oven Cooking, and a Civil War Field Surgeon.

Enjoy hands on activities:

Butter Churning, Making a rag doll or Ninja, Washing on a scrub board, Planting cotton seeds at the only cotton patch in Rockwall, Bee Tinning, Scavenger Hunt, and Old Fashioned Fun!

Don’t miss this educational event.

For more information call 972-722-1507 or email

Z: Zaner Robison Historical Museum

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Welcome to the A to Z blog challenge! Bread and Butter Days shares tidbits from the past. Follow us for posts to go directly to your inbox. Don’t worry, after April we go back to our once a week schedule, so your inbox won’t explode.

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Z: Zaner Robison Historical Museum, Royse City, Texas

royse cityToday we reach the letter ‘Z’ and wrap up our A to Z blog. Thank you for visiting during this fun (and sometimes challenging) trip through the alphabet, as it relates to ‘the good ole days’.

The Zaner Robinson Historical Museum depicts life on the Blackland Prairie from early settlers through the boom years (1920-1960’s). It is housed in a 1925 building that is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and in the National Register of Historic Places.

Zaner Robison Historical Museum 124 Arch Street Royse City, Texas 75189 972-635-7438

Open Noon – 4 PM, Thursday – Saturday

Free Admission Please call ahead for tours.

W: White Settlement Historical Museum

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0W: White Settlement Historical Museum

History, music, log cabins and Civil War reenactments; what more of the past could one want?

White Settlement Historical Museum, just outside of Fort Worth Texas, has all of this in more.

Coming up:

whitesettlement2CIVIL WAR LIVING HISTORY RE-ENACTORS SATURDAY, APRIL 25 and SATURDAY, JULY 18 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. Come experience Civil War Living History when members of the 15th Texas Cavalry/2nd MO. U.S. present a day of living history, in Union and Confederate military garb with their black-powder pistols, rifles and shotguns, swords and knives and military kit.

White Settlement Historical Museum 8320 Hanon Drive, White Settlement, Texas 76108 Phone: 817-246-9719

Tuesday through Saturday: 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. Closed Sunday and Monday

V: Visitor Center and Museum (Roanoke, Texas)

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Welcome to the A to Z blog challenge! Bread and Butter Days shares tidbits from the past. Follow us for posts to go directly to your inbox. Don’t worry, after April we go back to our once a week schedule, so your inbox won’t explode.

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V: Visitor Center, Roanoke Texas

roanoke1Many cities have visitor centers that highlight the history of the town. Many also have brochures and pamphlets of fun places to visit in the area.

Today, for ‘V’, I’m featuring my favorite visitor center – the one in our town, Roanoke, Texas.

From the web site:

“Come visit us at the Roanoke Visitor Center and Museum and see our beautifully restored rock building from 1886, the centerpiece of downtown Roanoke since the turn of the twentieth century. The building was re-opened to the public in 2008 after a rigorous restoration.

Formerly the Silver Spur Saloon, the stately building also housed an upstairs brothel, dance hall, and much more. Enjoy our collection of local and regional artifacts and learn about the local legends of Roanoke’s vibrant past. The Silver Spur Saloon Building was awarded a Texas Recorded Historic Landmark designation and received an award for Best Renovation from the Texas Downtown Association and Preservation Texas in 2009.”



S: Settlement to City Museum, Grapevine, Texas

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0S: Settlement to City Museum, Grapevine, Texas

Tsettlement to city museumhe Grapevine Historical Museum, inside the replica Grapevine Ice Company building. Visitors to the Grapevine Historical Museum explore the cultural and family life of early Grapevine residents in such areas as agriculture, industry, childhood and more. Exhibits include a trip through Grandma’s attic, restored wedding gowns, farm and dairy life, and much more.

The Donald Schoolhouse, a ca. 1900 school building, offers a lesson on education as it developed on the Grape Vine Prairie – beginning in a log cabin and growing into today’s modern school district. Originally a Home Economics and Agriculture building for the Donald School was originally situated on Denton Creek. It teaches us about education on the Grape Vine Prairie.

The Keeling House Museum resides in a ca. 1888 historic home and chronicles how Grapevine developed from a pioneer settlement into a world-class city and visitor destination. Inside the museum you will see old time police and fire treasures and other City of Grapevine artifacts. There is also a collection of Mayor William D. Tate’s artifacts. Inside The Keeling House Museum, guests will discover a working 1881 Chandler and Price Press (the Grapevine LetterPress Lab). The Keeling House Museum is home to the Settlement to City collection. This exhibit was created for Grapevine’s centennial and highlights the city’s growth from prairie settlement to city.

The Grapevine Cotton Ginner’s Museum, inside a ca. 1910 house, chronicles the era when cotton was king and three gins in town prepared Grapevine’s crop to touch the world. This museum features hands on activities including the route for Texas Prairie cotton. This wonderful museum can be reserved for private functions and conferences.

O: Old Jail Museum Complex, Palo Pinto, Texas

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Welcome to the A to Z blog challenge! Bread and Butter Days shares tidbits from the past. Follow us for posts to go directly to your inbox. Don’t worry, after April we go back to our once a week schedule, so your inbox won’t explode.

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O: Old Jail Museum Complex, Palo Pinto, Texas

old jail museumA Walk Through the Past….

The museum complex includes the jail and yard, several pioneer cabins, Fort Black Springs, the carriage house and various artefacts.

The first floor of the Jail was a residence for the jailer and his family; they lived between two heavy steel doors—one to the outside world, the other a pass-through door for serving meals to the prisoners.

Now the first floor houses artefacts and stories of the pioneers of Palo Pinto County. Explore the first floor artefacts and be sure to locate the framed pictures of the Sheriffs with “loaded” dice from a gambling machine destroyed by the Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Department, the 1856 Palo Pinto County Star Press, and the Switchboard used by the Palo Pinto Telephone Company.

N: Nash Farm, Grapevine, Texas

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Welcome to the A to Z blog challenge! Bread and Butter Days shares tidbits from the past. Follow us for posts to go directly to your inbox. Don’t worry, after April we go back to our once a week schedule, so your inbox won’t explode.

We’re on Facebook too!

N: Nash Farm, Grapevine, Texas

nash farm springTHIS SATURDAY: Spring into Nash Farm

April 18: Celebrate life on the farm like Grapevine’s earliest settlers. Held at Grapevine’s historic Nash Farm, the event features heritage toys, kitchen gardening, cotton planting, authentic heritage animal breeds, tractor-drawn wagon rides, field cultivation, wood carving demonstrations, jump rope making, cooking demonstrations on a wood burning stove and blacksmith demonstrations.

This 5.2 acre historic farm, built by Thomas Jefferson Nash in 1859, is open year round, excepting a few holidays and two weeks in February. Admission is free.

The farm grounds are open for self-guided tours through regular business hours. During special events and scheduled tours the historic structures and exhibits are open also.

nash farm

M: Moonshine

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0Welcome to the A to Z blog challenge! Bread and Butter Days shares tidbits from the past. Follow us for posts to go directly to your inbox. Don’t worry, after April we go back to our once a week schedule, so your inbox won’t explode.

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M: Moonshine

moonshinThe illegal activity of moonshining holds a nostalgic place in our family history. Grandpa Jones (way before he was my grandpa) ran ‘shine. He’d leave Chillicothe, Missouri and drive down into north Arkansas to get the moonshine from Papa Goss. (Who also wasn’t our ‘papa’ yet.) And back to Missouri he’d go.

But … the stays in Arkansas got longer each trip. Because Papa Goss, besides making some of the finest ‘shine around, also had a daughter. A few months after she turned 18, Vernon Beatrice Goss married Evan Lewis ‘Casey’ Jones on August 4, 1935.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

And the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren down the line have a special place in their heart for moonshine and the role it played in getting Casey and Bea together.

If you’re around the Georgia area, Hillcrest Orchards, in Ellijay, has a museum and moonshine museum on the premises. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, but if I ever get to Georgia, I’ll be sure to make a stop here.