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Ellis County Museum

2016-2017 Highlights

 

Ø  Museum visitors for the 2016 - 2017 fiscal year total 7,500 plus 400 school children.  

Ø  The ECM took a break from building maintenance in the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year due to prior commitments of Jeff Smith and Ageless Treasures. Maintenance / restoration will begin again in the fall of the 2017 – 2018 fiscal year with brick re-pointing on the much neglected and forgotten third floor wall on the south side of the building. The same practices used on the front façade of the museum will be employed on the south wall with joints being scraped and re-pointed using a historically appropriate mortar mix. The cost for this phase of work is $38,450. The most exciting part of this project is the fact that, through the work of the museum president, the museum curator and a museum board member, this project was deemed worthy by Waxahachie Partnership, Inc. and by the TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zone) board who are financially assisting with the restoration.  

Ø  2016 – 2017 was a year of evening fundraisers kicking off with “Blues and BBQ” in the backyard of Holly and Donny Willig. The success of this evening event led to others including “southern cocktails and appetizers” at the Webb Gallery hosted by Bruce and Julie Webb, an “Italian dinner” at Pat and David Smith’s home, “champagne and chocolate” at Beth Young’s home, “dessert love” at Matt and Heidi Perkins’ home, and “dinner in the garden” at John and Arlene Hamilton’s home. In addition, there was a wine tasting event at the Ellis County Museum. Thank you to all of the generous hosts of these events and to the participants. All said and done, these fundraising efforts netted $8,741. Kudos to Beth Young for being the instigator, arm twister and organizer. Look forward to new evening activities for 2017 – 2018.  

Ø  Mr. Billy Hancock, in conjunction with the ECM, is working on a new publication. Research has been going on for the past year and we are about to begin working on the organization and layout of the book. This publication focuses on the history of the Waxahachie Independent School District, beginning with education in Waxahachie from the early 1870’s to present. Mr. Hancock and the ECM are very excited about this new work and think it will have wide appeal for past and current educators and students. All of the proceeds from this and past publications are generously donated to the ECM by Mr. Hancock.  

Ø  Special exhibits for the 2016 – 2017 year included an extensive exhibit of Vietnam artifacts, uniforms and ordinance organized by Bob Coalter, Brandon Morley and Jason Weigler of the Sons of Liberty Military Exhibits. Kicking off the 2017 – 2018 fiscal year will be a special private showing and sale of pen and ink drawings by J. Michael Hargrove. Please mark your calendars and plan on attending this event Sunday, August 20, 2017, 4 – 6 PM at the ECM. Hargrove was a Waxahachie graduate of 1968 and a well-known artist of architecture and flora. This exhibit / sale is a joint effort of the museum, Becky Kauffman and Harold Barnard.  

Ø  The Brown Bag lunch and history series continued with speakers Rollin Phipps (North Texas Rails), John Stevens (Early Years in Texas, 1855 – 1860), “Waxahachie Remembers” video, produced in 1988 by Earl Calhoun, Alex Toprac, THC, (New Age Historical Homes and Structures), Sharan Farmer (Early History of the Sims Family in Ellis County) and John Hamilton (The Naming of Waxahachie). Each presentation was well attended and the “brown bag” series continues to be a popular museum activity.  

Ø  Emma Bauman, hired in the spring of 2016 on an hourly basis, continues to assist the museum in many capacities. Over the past year, she re-labeled the majority of our display cases, accessioned countless, newly acquired SSC (Superconducting Super Collider) items, inventoried the museum’s storage areas and is currently updating / transferring our ancient catalog records into our new catalog system. She has also created approximately a foot of new floor space in my office. : )  Emma assists with other projects as needed and has been a wonderful addition to the museum.

Ø  Window displays for 2016 – 2017 include cotton industry artifacts and images, “scary” Halloween items, Veteran’s Day commemoration, a Christmas theme, “Brown Bag” speaker series promotion, Gingerbread Trail Home Tour promotion, Bessie Coleman and Annual Membership Meeting promotion. In conjunction with the City of Waxahachie’s fall city decoration, Emma created a scene with some faceless, “pilgrims of the corn.” Thanks to Larry and Glinda Felty, Sylvia Smith, Emma Bauman, Bruce and Julie Webb and Beth Young for their ideas, work and assistance on these displays.  

Ø  The museum is adding a new section to its by-laws (pending membership approval) for its new memorial program to recognize board members for outstanding service in their lifetime. A plaque has been created listing board members with a minimum of 15 years of service. Currently, we have recognized 14 board members who meet this criterion. At the reception following this meeting, check out the county citizens who felt a historical museum was important enough to dedicate that much of their time for the preservation of Ellis County history.  

Ø  Other museum activities / news includes acquiring three new benefactor (lifetime) members, hosting a  number of grade school tours, senior citizen tours, WISD freshmen history class tours, church group tours and a Sims Library youth group tour. The museum and the city of Waxahachie were featured in a Texas Highways article and a San Antonio Magazine article. A volunteer appreciation luncheon and training for our volunteers was hosted by the Waxahachie Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. The museum updated the audio / visual portion of the “Homefront” exhibit, courtesy of a grant from the Waxahachie Foundation, Inc. Cowboy Bob Todd held two performances of  classic cowboy music in conjunction with the Crossroads of Texas film festival, donating proceeds of CD sales to the museum. As with every year, there was an abundance of researchers looking for lost family members, historical photographs and information on local properties.  

Ø  Mr. Jim Pitts, Matt and Heidi Perkins, Donny and Holly Willig, Ellis County Abstract & Title Company, the College Street Pub, the Dove’s Nest Restaurant, H-E-B, Citizens National Bank, Boze Mitchell McKibbin Funeral Home, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, The English Merchant’s Inn, Ellis County Living Magazine, Fresh, KBEC, Out of the Box, Town Square Title Company, and the Ellis County Art Association all contributed to assist with Gingerbread Trail underwriting / donations. In addition, Denice Lipscomb, Common Threads Quilting, once again donated a gorgeous quilt to raffle as part of the Trail fundraiser.  

Ø  A joint project with the City of Waxahachie is underway to create an interactive map on the city website showing historical properties in Waxahachie. The ECM is assisting by supplying historical photos (when available) or images from the Hardy Heck Moore Survey of 1985 (historical in their own right). From November to March, ECM supplied 167 images to the City for this project and we all look forward to it going “live.”  

Ø  49th Annual Gingerbread Trail Event. The Trail is ECM’s annual fundraising event to provide operating income. It includes a historic home tour, preview tour and car show. Trail chairman for the 2017 Trail was Ms. Beth Young. The 2017 Gingerbread Trail netted $10,577. Other local groups augment the event with various activities, truly making the Gingerbread Trail a community effort. Thanks to the army of Trail volunteers, Preview Tour hosts David and Paula Hudgins, Preview Tour organizers Vicki Parker and Deb Rupp and homeowners Brad and Lorinda Yates, Paula and Keith Cole, Curtis Thompson, and Bruce Rust and Jane Wedding.