Ellis County Museum
Museum visitors for the 2015 - 2016 fiscal year total 6,500 plus
300 – 400 school children.
Gift Shop – New gift shop items added to the inventory include
notecards of local artists featured in the Waxahachie City Hall Art Program,
historic playing cards of various subjects relating to American history and Mr.
Billy Ray Hancock’s publication, “A Look at Downtown Waxahachie, 1911 –
Building maintenance and improvements in 2015 – 2016 consisted
of the restoration of the front façade of the museum, “shoring up” the
mezzanine storage area above the curator’s office and adding a small wall and
door to the curator’s office. All of the work was performed by Jeff Smith of
Ageless Treasures Restoration. Mr. Smith was responsible for the window work in
2014 – 2015. Jeff began work in early February of 2016 and completed all tasks
by early June at a cost of $34,122. Every brick joint on the front of the museum
was scraped and re-pointed using a historically appropriate mortar mixture. Upon
completion of this work, Jeff painted the front of the building.
Thank you “wall work” supporters! The museum received $5,259
from the two “Boot Scoot” events hosted by David and Pat Smith. In addition,
the museum received a generous façade grant from Historic Waxahachie, Inc. (HWI)
for $5,000 to assist with costs of the recent façade work.
A book signing event was held in June 2016 for Mr. Hancock’s
latest publication, "A Look at Downtown Waxahachie, 1911 - 1914." A line formed early and remained until the
event ended two hours later. Total sales for evening, $1,325. ALL proceeds from
the sale of these books benefit the ECM as Mr. Hancock paid for and donated the
Special exhibits for the 2015 – 2016 year included a look at
“Lonesome Dove” and “Tender Mercies” items and photos in conjunction
with the Crossroads of Texas Film Festival, a Quanah Parker traveling exhibit
from the Texas Lakes Trail Region, sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission,
and currently, 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.
A surveillance system was installed early in the fiscal year and
includes interior and exterior HD cameras. The system is capable of storing up
to two months of surveillance information. While we have not had a need to
review footage for museum purposes, we have assisted the Texas State Highway
Patrol, the Waxahachie Police Department and Citizens National Bank, providing
footage from the exterior camera for their various investigations. The system
was purchased from and installed by BAT Security.
The Brown Bag lunch and history series continued with speakers
David Hudgins (Historic and Modern Fires in Waxahachie), David Smith (Stained
Glass Windows in Ellis County Churches), Bruce Webb (Fraternal Societies in
Waxahachie), Bill Abbott (Ellis County Columbian Mammoth Excavation) and John
Wray (Being a Freshman in the Texas State House of Representatives). Special
thanks to Mr. Bill Abbott who stepped in on a moment’s notice to replace the
scheduled speaker from Corsicana who had last minute car issues. Each
presentation was well attended and the “brown bag” series continues to be a
popular museum activity.
In the Spring of 2016, the museum hired an intern to assist with
cataloguing the extensive Virginia Duff collection. Emma Bauman has since
completed that large task and is now assisting with other projects as needed.
She has been a wonderful addition to the museum and is an extremely hard worker.
Window displays for 2015 – 2016 include Chautauqua Preservation
Society promotion, Crossroads of Texas Film Festival promotion (twice), Odd
Fellow Regalia, military items for Veteran’s Day, Christmas trees, a beauty
salon setting, items related to the cotton industry, Quanah Parker exhibit
promotion, Gingerbread Trail Home Tour promotion, Bessie Coleman and Annual
Membership Meeting promotion. Thanks
to Larry and Glinda Felty, Sylvia Smith, Bruce Webb and Beth Young for their
ideas, work and assistance on these displays.
The museum has been fortunate in 2015 – 2016 to have had only
one unexpected repair. In August, it was brought to our attention that 35 linear
feet of the metal parapet coping from the south side of the building had been
deposited on our neighbor’s roof. MBM Roofing was contacted and the repairs
were quickly made for $765.
Other events / projects at the museum included a noon talk by Jim
Lake and Amanda Moreno about their downtown projects (100 plus in attendance),
an evening event in conjunction with Historic Waxahachie, Inc. and the City of
Waxahachie hosting the annual meeting for the Texas Downtown Association, guided
tour of Leadership Waxahachie participants, Mother’s Club Tour, WISD gifted
and talented students tour, tours by the Century and Shakespeare clubs, random 1st
and 2nd grade tours, and a volunteer appreciation luncheon for our
fabulous volunteers. The museum also applied for and received a grant from the
Waxahachie Foundation for $1,500 to update and improve the audio / visual
portion of the “Homefront” exhibit.
Matt & Heidi Perkins, Garland Insulating, the College Street
Pub, the Dove’s Nest Restaurant, H-E-B,
Citizens National Bank, and the Ellis County Art Association 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
ECM held its third annual Boot Scoot fundraiser in support of the
wall restoration work. David and Pat Smith generously offered the use of their
lovely yard and iris garden. One again, the rain fell but the event continued at
the scheduled location in spite of Mother Nature. Although damp, it was a fun
and successful evening, raising $2,654 for the wall restoration work.
Ellen Beasley and Margaret Culbertson continue work on the
“Waxahachie Architecture Guidebook.” With her research complete, Ms. Beasley
returned to Galveston and continues writing the guidebook.
The ECM now has a Facebook and Instagram presence so go “like”
us on Facebook and do whatever you do on Instagram. The museum curator and
various board members maintain the sites and add upcoming museum events,
historical tidbits, photos, etc.
48th 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 2016 Trail was Ms. Beth Young.
The 2016 Gingerbread Trail was financially the best Trail in many years, netting
$18,834. Other local groups augment the event with various activities, truly
making the Gingerbread Trail a community effort.
And finally, a special thanks to Museum President Glinda Felty for
the program tonight, “Tracing the Roots”….a brief look at 49 years of
Ellis County Museum history. Participants include Glinda Felty, Steve Chapman,
Nancy Hightower, Teresa McNiel, Suzanne Walker, Sam Meade and Shannon Simpson.