Ellis County Museum
2012 - 2013 Highlights
Museum visitors for the 2012 - 2013 fiscal year total 6,000 plus 300 – 400 school children.
Gift Shop – New gift shop items added to the inventory include Margaret Eshelman Thompson notecards of the courthouse and local houses, Ellis County Museum notecards by the Ellis County Museum, postcards from the Larry Gilbert collection, and a new coffee table book “Texas As I See It” by Warren Paul Harris.
In September of 2012, the ECM conducted a “garage sale” in the old Kress/Cheeves building. John Wray was kind enough to let us use his building for two days. Items were generously contributed by museum board members and local citizens….and no….items from the museum collection were not included in this endeavor. It was fortunate we had use of the empty building because it rained all day Saturday. Unsold items were contributed to various charitable organizations in the community. Board participation was excellent in this back breaking venture which netted $2,900. The sale was the brainchild of Beth Young.
Also in September of 2012, work began on the rear wall of the museum in an effort to continue much needed building maintenance. The previous year saw rear wall stabilization, a new TPO roof and painting of the lower front façade of the building. Bids were received from Lone Star Waterproofing ($11,000) and Penfold Construction Company ($18,500) to waterproof and repair areas of failing stucco. The project was awarded to Lone Star Waterproofing. The work was completed in October. Additional building maintenance is planned for 2013-2014.
The ECM has begun looking into the renovation and painting of the exterior of its 1889 Masonic Lodge structure. The windows and cornices need painting and repair as do the masonry walls. Window work was last done about 1999 and wall work about 1981. The first bid received is $42,650. The window portion of the work is $12,250, thus our “Window of Opportunity” campaign. The museum has forty nine (49) windows in desperate need of restoration. Additional funds will be sought through grants.
The Brown Bag lunch and history series continued with speakers Sugar Glaspy (Miss Emily’s Diary – A Pioneer Woman in Navarro & Ellis Counties), Ken Roberts (KBEC Radio, Waxahachie, Texas), Elmerine Bell (We Still Hear His Voice – The Tenure of Professor W. H. Stafford in the Italy Public Schools), Peggy Crabtree (Hard Times on Hawkins Street and Other Family Stories of Early Ellis County), Bruce Webb (Fraternal Organizations of Waxahachie), David Price (Sims Library in the 21st Century) and Don Locke (The Supper Quilt). Each presentation was well attended and the “brown bag” series continues to be a popular museum activity.
Christmas tree display set up for Victorian Christmas on the Square. Display featured a number of different tree styles in the central window (Marie Jones, Shannon Simpson) and a special display of antique toys in the side window (Larry and Glinda Felty).
Additional window displays of 2012 – 2013 included a Civil War cannon (Sylvia Smith) and replica Confederate Uniforms to promote the Chautauqua event (Chautauqua volunteers), historic band instruments and photos (Glinda and Larry Felty), Bessie Coleman display (Shannon Simpson) and items from the Duff estate augmented with items from the museum’s permanent collection (Shannon Simpson).
On March 29th, Good Friday, a portion of the Hancock building’s rear wall collapsed into the alleyway. The ECM once again found itself without electricity or natural gas. Since the new electrical meter from our near meltdown the previous June was mounted on the Hancock building wall, service would not be reinstalled until the meter was moved to our wall. The meter was moved and full electrical service was reinstated on April 8th ….gas service on the 9th. In less than a year, the museum had been closed or operating in a limited capacity for 23 days. Let’s hope our half block is ready for another 120 + years without major calamity.
Near the end of the 2012 – 2013 fiscal year, ECM received a generous grant from the Ellis County Honor Flight Group to assist with the purchase of archival storage materials and to add additional audio visual capabilities to our "Home Front" exhibit. David Hudgins and I met numerous times to decide on the content of this addition. Since the exhibit deals with the American home front in WWII, we chose American propaganda clips for two segments and a portion of footage of Ellis County veterans that was shot on one of the honor flight trips. We chose how we wanted the segments edited and the Video Station edited the material. Communication Arts Multimedia of Georgetown took the edited material, mounted historic handsets for the audio and affixed a flat screen TV for viewing about twelve minutes of material.
Honor flight funds were also used to purchase an HD digital video camera for recording oral histories and other museum events. Brown bag speakers and subject have been documented since the camera was purchase. An oral history with Mr. Carroll Davis was conducted in March about his step grandfather Tom Graham. Graham was a local cowboy that had wrangled throughout the state and was well known in the community. Interesting, informative and funny stories were recalled by Mr. Davis. Pat and David Smith hosted the gathering which included the above mentioned, Glenn and Linda Ferguson, Ellen Beasley (facilitator) and I.
HEB, Ellis County Abstract & Title Company, Representative Jim Pitts, the College Street Pub, the Dove’s Nest Restaurant, Citizens National Bank and Blue Bell Ice Cream all contributed to assist with Gingerbread Trail underwriting / donations. In addition, Denice Lipscomb once again donated a gorgeous quilt to raffle as part of the Trail fundraiser.
A “downtown cam” was set up by Neal White and the Waxahachie Daily Light. It is sponsored by the Museum and shows a live stream of the courthouse square. It can be viewed at www.waxahachietx.com .
Long time museum supporter Virginia Duff passed away in January of 2012. Ms. Duff was an attorney as well as a Texas congresswoman throughout the 1950s and into the early 60s. She also had a long career with Mobil Oil. The Ellis County Museum, along with a number of organizations, was listed as a beneficiary in her Will. The museum received numerous artifacts relating to her professional life and family roots in Ferris, Ellis County, Texas as well as financial support from her estate. The financial support included a portion of her estate settlement, a certificate of deposit and ExxonMobil stocks. Her generosity is a great benefit to the museum and ensures the successful operation of the organization for many years to come.
Ellen Beasley and Margaret Culbertson continue work on the “Waxahachie Architecture Guidebook.”
The ECM now has a Facebook presence so go “like” us. Board member Laurie Wilson maintains the page and adds upcoming museum events and historical tidbits, photos, etc.
45th Annual Gingerbread Trail Event. The Trail is ECM’s annual fundraising event to provide operating income. It consists of historic home tour, arts & crafts
festival, preview tour and car show. Trail chairman for the 2013 Trail was Mr. Al Maples. The 2013 Gingerbread Trail was financially the best Trail since 2006, netting $14,471. Other local groups augment the event with