Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sign Your Kids Up for Chuckwagon Team Cook-off!

1. Eligibility—contestants must be between the ages of 10 and 15 years to compete in the cook-off.
2. Entry—each contestant must complete a cook-off entry application. Entry is limited to 30 kids.
3. Teams—contestants will be paired in teams of two (2). Each team will be required to work with their assigned chuckwagon crew to cook a dessert dish to feed 50 people using peaches. It is up to the discretion of the wagon and the kids’ team on what the dish will be and how it will be prepared.
4. Supervision—the Chuckwagon Cook-off Committee will be responsible for assisting kids to their assigned wagons. Only cook-off contestants are allowed within the designated wagon cooking area.
5. Dress code—all participants must wear close-toed shoes. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Kids’ Chuckwagon Cook-off Competition SCHEDULE
Friday, September 11
Check in and Wagon Assignment 5:00 pm
Kids’ Cook-off Competition 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Dessert Entries Submitted for Judging 7:30 pm
Kids’ Cook-off Awards Ceremony 8:30 pm

First Place Team $50
Second Place Team $30
Third Place Team $20

To enter the Kids’ Cook-off Competition
Spots are limited. To sign up to be a participant in the Kids’ Cook-off Competition on Friday, September 11, fill out the Kids’ Chuckwagon Cook-off Entry form and drop it off or mail it to The Williamson Museum (716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown Texas 78626) or fax it to 512-943-1672 by Saturday, September 5, 2009.

Entry form and Release can be found at:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Surprise Visit

Last night, Books for Texans met at the Georgetown Public Library. Our normal group showed up to discuss August's book selection: City on Fire: The Forgotten Disaster That Devastated a Town and Ignited a Landmark Legal Battle by Bill Minutaglio.

The synopsis of the book given by the Library Journal: On April 16, 1947, two huge explosions rocked the port city of Texas City, TX, killing 600 people, injuring thousands more, leveling houses and buildings, and soaking the landscape with toxic chemicals. Cold War sabotage was initially suspected, but the true culprit was a shipment of ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be a fertilizer or a deadly explosive. The chemical was being manufactured and shipped by the government with no warning label or instructions for safe handling. Angry at this negligence, attorney Russel Markwell brought the first-ever civil class action suit against the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act and won. Though the victory was overturned on appeal as a dangerous precedent, the government's responsibility wasn't in doubt. Over two thirds of the book is a poignant present-tense account of the hours before, during, and after the explosion, bringing to life the horror, pain, and bravery of the people of Texas City. The account of the lawsuit is secondary, as it should be. This terrible story deserves this passionate retelling.

Here's the REALLY EXCITING part: a survivor of the Texas City explosion was visiting his daughter in Round Rock and read that our book club was discussing the book. So, Floyd Walker joined us for the evening and talked about his recollections of the explosion. He was 5 years old. His mother, sister, and brother were at home, which was located about 2.5 miles from the port. His older brothers were at the high school, which if you've read the book means they were in the thick of it. And, his dad, who was reporting for jury duty in Galveston wasn't at his job and survived. If he didn't have jury duty, chances are he'd been killed in the explosion, too.

Floyd's stories about that day, his memories of growing up in Texas City (he still lives there), and his years working at the refineries made the book come to life.

Thanks, Floyd!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The numbers never lie

I just did a little bit of math out of curiosity. First, I figured out how many artifacts we've entered into the collections database in the past 2.5 years I've been at the Museum. If you're wondering, it's 2589.

Doing a bit of research a while back, I read somewhere that it takes on average about 3 hours per artifact to completely document it-- catalogue, number, photograph, put in storage, and enter information into the database. 2589 artifacts at 3 hours each equals 7767 hours of work.

Now, here's the interesting thing. 7767 hours of work equals 194.175 weeks of work. I've been at the Museum for 2.5 years. That's 116 weeks. I've had two 6-month collections interns. That's an additional 48 weeks, for a total of 164, 40-hour weeks. We're still 30.175 hours short.

Of course, I do not spend all my time working on documenting artifacts. I conduct research, work with the volunteers, help with special events, design posters and postcards, and write and design exhibits, just to name a few things. And, the interns-- they didn't spend all of their 24 weeks with us working just on collections.

It's the volunteers! Those wonderful collections volunteers who come in every other Tuesday and catalogue each and every artifact. The math proves it: we couldn't do it without them!

So, here's a treat for everyone from the collections. It's a photograph of a postcard in our collection. You'll notice the building-- it's the Museum, today. I couldn't resist sharing this. It's just too funny. The card belonged to a woman who served as the Vice President of Farmers State Bank, when it used this building for their place of business. I swear-- it's too funny! (If you're curious-- 26 years is 1248 weeks...that's 49920 hours. If we worked that long, we could document almost 17000 artifacts!)