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.

Y: Yeast like Grandmother Made

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!

Y: Yeast like Grandmother Made

From an old newspaper article, undated.

baking breadTake three-teaspoonfuls of flour, three of sugar, half a tablespoonful salt. Put all together into a pan, boil four good sized potatoes in a quart of water and when tender pour the water from potatoes into a jar. Mash potatoes fine and add to the rest. Boil a handful of hops in a quart of water, strain the water into the mixture, stir it briskly five minutes. When lukewarm add one cup of good yeast; let it rise and stir down several times. Next day put it into a fruit can or jug. Cork tightly and keep in a cool place ready for use. One cup of this is sufficient for four loaves of bread.

And on that thought I leave you. I’m off to pull out the bread machine and open that handy jar of ready to go yeast sitting in the refrigerator.

I love the ‘good ole days’. But I also love the time saving conveniences of living in our modern world.

vintage kitchen

X: Xmas Postcards from the Past

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0X: Xmas Postcards from the Past

PC Christmas frontI know, this is a bit of a stretch. ‘X’ was a challenge for me.

There are quite a few vintage postcards in my collection. Somehow, I only have one Christmas postcard. Many New Years and Birthday cards. But one lone Christmas card.

Sent from Florence to Miss Ida Johnson, Clark, So. Dakota on December 21, 1909.

Dear Ida, I received your card Sat. Was glad to hear from you. I guess I was just playing off for I am feeling fine and dandy now. Hope this will find you the same. I suppose you are going to have a big time Xmas. You had better come in ___ night to the Xmas tree. I will close hoping to see you soon, Florence.

PC Christmas backMy Genealogy Hound has an amazing assortment of antique, vintage postcards. This is one of my favorite sites. Check them out here:

Here’s a nice blog with beautiful vintage Christmas postcards, posted by The Black River Blog.

Here’s a Facebook page with delightful posts of different vintage postcards:

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.

We’re on Facebook too!

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.”



U: Unusual Illnesses

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0U: Unusual Illnesses

Looking back through old remedies and folk cures, unusual illnesses are often mentioned that we never hear of anymore. Sometimes it still exists and we just know it by a more updated name. Here’s a few ‘old time’ conditions.

old medicine bottlesAgue: 1: a fever (as malaria) marked by paroxysms of chills, fever, and sweating that recur at regular intervals, 2: a fit of shivering

Biliousness: A term used in the 18th and 19th centuries pertaining to bad digestion, stomach pains, constipation, and excessive flatulence (passing gas). The quantity or quality of the bile was thought to be at fault for the condition. Hence, the name “biliousness.” (“Bilious” derives from the French “bilieux,” which in turn came from “bilis,” the Latin term for “bile.”) Biliousness was generally laid to high living. The “cure” was moderation and frequent visits to the doctor.

Chilblain: a medical condition that occurs when a predisposed individual is exposed to cold and humidity, causing tissue damage. It is often confused with frostbite and trench foot.

Cow Itch: One of the common names for Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) is cow itch vine. This trumpet creeper frequently causes an irritation from contact with this vine. Other plants, such as Carolina Jasmine or “Jessamine” (Gelsemium sempervirens), poison ivy, poison oak and sumac also cause similar rashes. Probably more commonly called contact dermatitis in today’s medical world.

old beware signDew Sores: Any of various rashes or infections of the feet or legs, believed to be caused by dew; the presumed agent causing such rashes or infections. Sometimes ringworm or hookworm of the feet, or Sores on the feet, usually between the toes; caused by parasitic mites. (See here for old time references to dew sores)

Dropsy: An old term for the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water. In years gone by, a person might have been said to have dropsy. Today one would be more descriptive and specify the cause. Thus, the person might have edema due to congestive heart failure. Edema is often more prominent in the lower legs and feet toward the end of the day as a result of pooling of fluid from the upright position usually maintained during the day. Upon awakening from sleeping, people can have swelling around the eyes referred to as periorbital edema.

Quinsy: Peritonsillar abscess (PTA), also known as a quinsy or quinsey, is a recognized complication of tonsillitis and consists of a collection of pus beside the tonsil in what is referred to as peritonsilar space (peri—meaning surrounding).

Torpid liver: Sluggish liver. One old newspaper cutout reported – Torpid liver is responsible not only for many a poor complexion, but for warped views of life as well. One noted physician declares that every woman over 35 should take a dose of calomel at least twice a month.

Wens: a benign encysted tumor of the skin, especially on the scalp, containing sebaceous matter; a sebaceous cyst.

T: Thankful … for life now

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0T: Thankful … for life now

While I enjoy hearing and reading of times past and feel that I could immerse myself in these trips back into time … I really am thankful that I live now.

Here’s a few fun tidbits that reinforce why I’m thankful for today’s world.


Dry the starched articles perfectly, then dip them in a pail of boiling water and pass them through the wringer twice. They may then be ironed at once, or they may be rolled up in a dry cloth. The fabric may be ironed with greater ease after being dampened I this way than when sprinkled in the usual manner. Turpentine in starch gives an added whiteness and luster to the ironed articles. Use on tablespoonful to a quart of starch. – Ladies Home Journal


You often want to go some place on bread-making day, but think you can not, as you have bread on hands. It can be disposed of in this way: Make sponge at noon the day before baking. Before going to bed make dough, set in cool place; next morning before breakfast make into loaves. By 8 or 9 o’clock your bread is baked and you hardly know you have had it on hands.

The above helpful tip was cut from an old newspaper article. It was submitted by Gertrude Wrenick, Morristown, Indiana.

I believe I found Gertrude Wrenick, placing the undated tip prior to 1903. Gertrude is listed as a teacher on a 1892-1893 Shelbyville City Directory and County Gazeteer, Morristown, Indiana. Will Phillipy is listed as a traveling salesman on the same directory. (Directory here) William H. Phillipy and Gertrude (Wrenick) Phillipy had a daughter, Ruth Phillipy Parish, born July 22, 1904, in Morristown. (Ruth’s obituary here)


For cleaning flatirons or waxing thread, paraffin can be used exactly like beeswax.

Wooden tubs and pails can be made water-tight and prevent absorption of odors by running a thin coating over the inside of same.

Carpenters use it on shingles, mixed with linseed oil.