Friday, December 31, 2010

Lets Celebrate the New Year!

We are getting ready to close down 2010 with a wonderful celebration at the Historic Williamson County Courthouse. The Museum is hosting the first ball in the courthouse and will be Unmasking the New Year under the rotunda!

This is always such an exciting time of year celebrated all over the world. People gather with friends and loved ones and often partake in very specific actions. Here are some fun traditions to keep in mind.

Food seems to be closely associated with bringing good luck in the New Year. It is common knowledge in this country that black-eyed peas will bring you good luck, but other cultures eat cabbage and rice to bring prosperity. In Mexico, people eat 12 grapes at midnight while making a wish for each grape. The Dutch believe eating donuts brings good luck. This stems from the belief that round objects are lucky as they symbolize "coming full circle."

Toasting and kissing your partner are very common traditions, but if you are superstitious you might want to take note of the following. To increase prosperity, make sure you have money in your pocket and your cupboard is full when the New Year comes. To increase happiness year-round, don't wash your hair and wear red. Launch a broom out your font door at midnight to get bad vibes out of your home. Dress well throughout the year by receiving the New Year in new clothes. Finally, evil spirits hate loud noise, so be as loud as possible tonight when receiving the New Year.
We wish you much luck and happiness in the New Year and hope to see you at the Museum in 2011.

Celina
Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home for the Holidays

The Staff at The Williamson Museum hopes you had a wonderful and safe holidays spent with friends and family, celebrating traditions old and new. 

If your family is anything like mine, we all get together and share memories from 'the good ole days' when Grandma and Grandpa were first married, and Grandpa's service years in the Navy- which always prompts the pulling down of the dusty photo album off the top shelf.

The holidays are one of the few times when all the kids and all the grand kids get together- and while you are up in the attic pulling down boxes of Christmas decorations, maybe you stumble across Grandpa's old trunk, filled with old photos, letters, photographs, etc.  Lots of times, people don't have children to pass things down to, or they feel that things are too silly, or frivolous and that nobody would want them.... WROOONNGG!!!

Your local Museum, heritage society, or history center would love to share your memories!!! These local institutions tell the stories of the families, and businesses in your community. It's through these memories, letters, photographs, and keepsakes that they can further preserve the cultural heritage of your community. So, when you gather up a box of old "junk", call your local Museum, Heritage Society, or Library before you cart if off to the dump. Your community will thank you.

Dana

Saturday, December 18, 2010

History Note: Georgetown's Christmas Cash Crop

When we consider Williamson County's rich agricultural past, we most often think of cotton.  But the area was once well known for a surprising seasonal crop: mistletoe!

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that attaches itself to the branches of a host tree.  While it does not usually kill trees, foresters consider it a pest.  It was W. E. Thies, a used furniture store owner in Georgetown, who first turned this local pest into a holiday commodity.  He began harvesting mistletoe and shipping it out at Christmastime, and other folks soon caught on to the idea. 

A 1952-1953 Texas Almanac noted that Christmas mistletoe was being shipped in large quantities from Georgetown.  During that time period, the Central Texas area shipped as much as a half a million pounds of the crop each December.  Georgetown was such an important producer of mistletoe that it was even dubbed "The Kissing Capital of the World!"

From all of us at The Williamson Museum, in The Kissing Capital of the World, Happy Holidays!

Cowboys and Cocoa and Christmas Around the World!

Wow!  December has really been a whirlwind!  We at the museum kicked off the Christmas season with Cowboys and Cocoa during the Georgetown annual Stroll event.  A cowboy and several ladies came by to hand out hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies to the hungry pedestrians on the square that evening.
Cowboy Joe Gonzalez serves hot cocoa and cookies

Today, we celebrated the several immigrant cultures that are found in Williamson County with our Christmas Around the World event.  Jan Faubion shared her expertise about how to make traditional Swedish straw ornaments, while Round Rock Ballet Folklorico came and taught us about the Mexican Posada tradition.  To top it all off, we had the Taylor Czech Chorus out to sing traditional Czech Christmas carols!  The children who visited the museum during the event made traditional ornaments from the Mexican, Swedish, Czech, and German traditions.  We had many luminarias, pickle ornaments, woven Swedish heart basket ornaments, and German scherenschnitt schneeflocke (scissor cut snow flakes) running through the museum!
Jan Faubion teaches the children about Swedish straw ornaments

Children making Czech pickle ornaments

A member of Round Rock Ballet Folklorico teaches our volunteers about the 7 points on the pinata

The Taylor Czech Chorus sings Czech carols

It was a wonderful event and was a great way to really get into the Christmas spirit.  I hope that wherever you are, you may also feel the warmth and goodwill that we felt here in the museum today.  Happy Holidays!

Looking for unique gifts.

The Williamson Museum can help you.

  • Give the gift of history by buying a Williamson Museum membership.
  • Visit the Museum Store.  We have historic toys, great history related books, jewelery, hand made soap, a poster of Texas Courthouses, cooking aprons and much, much more.
Proceeds from the store help support ongoing programs and exhibits.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Collections Housecleaning

If you've been to the Museum lately, you've probably noticed us moving our offices around- what an ordeal!! WHEW!!
Amy our Educator, moved her office out in the upstairs area and now has access to a storage closet to keep all of her education stuff together (Yay!) and Dana our Curator, moved into Amy's old office upstairs in the same space as Abby, our Registrar. That was a smart move!
We've now got the downstairs collections office area open and free to use as a workspace for our faithful collections volunteers who come weekly to help catalog artifacts.

Now that we have access to that workspace, Abby & Dana have been hard at work (a sort of 'housecleaning'), going through the collections, and re-housing archives in archival boxes and making sure that we have the entire collections cataloged. When we pull objects we also inspect them for deterioration, and try to preserve them to the best of our ability. (this is a rather large task, mind you)  A large part of accessioning objects is the legal paperwork that goes along with it, and keeping track of collections could easily be a full time job! And along the way, we find some pretty interesting items. Some recent donations include items from a local barbershop, Swedish baptismal records, and a large collection of family photographs. The curator & registrar must have a close relationship with the collections artifacts, because this is what we build our exhibits from.
(and let me tell you, we have some pretty cool exhibits coming in the future!- So keep your eyes peeled!)

Dana
Curator

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ghosts and Graves, Oh My!

October can be a creepy, spooky month and we at the Williamson Museum were determined not to be left out of all that ghostly fun.  On Halloween weekend, we hosted Ghosts on the Square, where costumed docents led tours of the Georgetown square and related the stories of the many other-worldly specters which haunt the historic buildings there.  We had four sold-out tours each night and our guests left the square with a new appreciation for the people of the county who were perhaps none too ready to leave this world for the next.  A shout-out to Quenan's Jewelers, who added creepiness to our tours with a mummy in their second story window!  It gave everybody a bit of a start to find something unexpectedly lurking in that window!

Continuing with the other-worldly theme, the museum hosted a Cemetery Tour at the Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) Cemetery on November 6th.  In this event, costumed interpreters told the story of the many prominent citizens of Williamson County buried at the IOOF and how they contributed to the success of Southwestern University.  Among the dead who "returned" to speak to our guests were SWU presidents, trustees, businessmen, ministers, and their wives.  Many returning Southwestern graduates, in Georgetown for Homecoming, enjoyed touring the cemetery and learning about the many men and women who worked diligently to ensure that Southwestern would continue to "survive and thrive" into the twenty-first century.

The success of these two programs ensures that the museum will survive and thrive, as well.  I look forward to planning the next Ghosts on the Square and Cemetery Tour next year.  And in case you missed it, I hope you will plan on coming out to one or both events in 2011 to experience the rich and (sometimes) spooky history that Williamson County has to offer.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things You Never Thought You Would Do As A Museum Professional

Ever since I started working at the Museum three years ago, I have had duties I never imagined I would have when choosing this field as a career. This was especially obvious this month as there have been several events we were involved with that don't fall under your regular Museum work, which I love!!

To start with, let me mention that three years ago, I had to dress up in a witch's hat for the launch of the last Harry Potter book. Downtown Georgetown turned into J.K. Rowling's world and there were witches and warlocks walking around the square waiting for Hill Country Bookstore to release the book. The Museum, I mean Gringotts (the Wizarding Bank), had flashlight tours that night. It was so much fun!

Coming back to October, here is a brief list of the events we were a part of this month. Notice they do not include our regular monthly events (First Friday, The Salon at Wildfire, Hands-On History or Books for Texans) or our educational programs (Field trips and trunk shows).
  • First of all, earlier in the month, I created big pink bows and pink ribbons for the Museum's facade in honor of the 2010 Pink Heals Tour. Our Visitor Services Coordinator was up on a ladder attaching the bows to our columns. We were pinked out!
  • That same week, I decorated a table (place settings, centerpiece and all) for the Georgetown Garden Club's Tea Party to celebrate their 70th anniversary. It was a delightful event.
  • The day after the tea party, a volunteer and I maned a booth at the first Jonah Harvest Fest, while the rest of the staff worked a craft booth for Art in the Square in Georgetown while keeping the Museum open. We can do it all!
  • Last weekend we hosted the registration tables for the Taste of Georgetown for the second year in a row and our Educator got a taste of how our courthouse rentals work. (We rent the 1911 Williamson County Courthouse)
  • Finally, the Brown Santa program asked us to decorate a jail cell for their Nightmare on Jail Hill Haunted House this year. This involved shopping for headstones, creating dead bodies, and a trip to a pecan orchard on HI29 to get branches for our fake cemetery inside the cell. Let me tell you that jail doesn't need much decorating to be scary.
Usually, when you think of a Museum you might think of exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs. Right? Well, The Williamson Museum is definitely no exception, but make no mistake, we do more than that.

Celina Aguirre
Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Exhibit Coming Soon


Jno. Trlica, a first generation Czech-Texan, spent decades documenting the town of Granger and its inhabitants.  His commercial studio made the dream of owning a photographic memory a reality for all.  In the sometimes racially charged atmosphere of early 20th century Texas, Trlica never discriminated against any person who wished to have their picture taken. 

His advertising slogan:
Where there is beauty,
We take it.
Where there is none,
We make it.
We take anything.

Where There Is Beauty opens during First Friday, November 5, 2010.

New Life For An Old Exhibit

...well, not that old.  Our most recent photography exhibit, Recuerdos, has been given a new lease on life at Texas State University's Round Rock Higher Education Center.  You may recall that the original Recuerdos resulted from a collaboration in which The Williamson Museum asked members of the Hispanic-American community to share their memories (recuerdos) of life in our county.  The photographs graced our walls from May 2010 until just a few days ago, when they were removed to make room for our next photography exhibit.  

But that's not the end for Recuerdos.  The original photographs, along with many additional historical images, can now be seen in the 1st floor hallway of the Round Rock Higher Education Center.  If you missed Recuerdos the first time around, don't miss this new opportunity to view memories of Hispanic-American life in Williamson County.

The Round Rock Higher Education Center is located at 1555 University Boulevard in Round Rock.  Recuerdos is on display in the 1st floor across from the library.  We hope you enjoy the "new" Recuerdos.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Changes, Changes, Changes...

It has been a long time since we have updated the blog, and I apologize for that! It is a sad fact that when changes come about in an organization, something falls through the cracks and this was one of those things. I will remedy that today and we will make it a priority from now on!

Lots of things going on this week, but the most immediate is the scheduled stop of the Pink Heals tour on the historic downtown square this afternoon at 5:30. Please wear your pink and join us for the parade of pink firetrucks and all of the festivities at the Fire Station on Main Street until 7:00 pm this afternoon.

If that is not to your liking, you can join us at The Salon at Wildfire at 6:30 for a presentation on Community Gardens by Natalie Vreeland.

And don't forget that tomorrow is our fundraiser at Casa Ole here in Georgetown. Let us know if you need a flyer!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two more wagons!

We received two more wagon entries for next month's Up the Chisholm Trail event on September 17 & 18 at San Gabriel Park in Georgetown.

Rocking T
R - D Chuckwagon

That means we'll have a total of 7 wagons competing in this year's event. For more information about Up the Chisholm Trail and to see a schedule of events, please visit the event website at www.upthechisholmtrail.org.

We'll see you there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Historic photographs: online and searchable

Check out our new searchable format for looking at photographs from the Museum's collection. Included in the database are images from the Sesquicentennial Collection, Images from the Williamson County Courthouse, and photographs of Pioneers of Williamson County.

Check them out here!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wagons, wagons, wagons!

We've got 5 wagons signed up for next month's Up the Chisholm Trail Chuckwagon Cook-off:

Bertie Bell from San Angelo
Break Away Wagon from Stamford
Ellis Cattle Co. from Sinton
Wish Bone from Axtell
Bear Creek Ranch from Kerrville

Our favorite musicians/chuckwagon team from Houston, The Buckaroo Band, will be at the event on Friday and Saturday night providing us with hours of music entertainment.

We'll see you there: Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, in San Gabriel Park in Georgetown!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

High Cotton


Come by to see our newest exhibit: High Cotton: Farming in Williamson County.

Drawn to the rich blackland soils in the eastern portion of Williamson County, early inhabitants farmed the land. The soils in Williamson County are some of the finest farmland in Texas. The landscape is rich with trees and rivers and creeks. Settlers, foreign and American, arrived in Texas in the 1820s seeking that fertile land and a better life.

The Williamson Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 6pm.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who was Arthur Olander?

Here's a photograph from the 1950s or 1960s of Arthur Olander of Hutto checking out his corn crops.

Come to the Museum on Friday, August 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm for the opening of our newest exhibit, High Cotton: Farming in Williamson County.

You'll find out why Arthur Olander is included in the exhibit and much, much more!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Volunteer Spotlight: Janelle Litos

Janelle (on the left in this photograph) volunteering during Hand-On History.

How long have you been volunteering with the WM?
I have been volunteering with the WM for a little over a year.

What do you do for WM?
I volunteer as a greeter, I help with special events, and I help with Hands-On History.

How do you feel your work helps others?
I feel that my volunteering helps others in an educational way. By expressing my love for history and sharing it, especially with kids, I feel that I contribute to a positive educational experience.

What do you enjoy most about WM?
Along with the history, I enjoy the people the most. The workers, including the volunteers, are all friendly, and the visitors are often interesting and pleasant. I love when people come in with much enthusiasm, and I also love when they have their own stories to share about their ties to the county!

What's unique about WM?
I think one of the unique factors of the WM is that it offers so much to the public. There’s always something exciting going on. Also, of course, its promotion of Williamson Country culture is quite unique.

Personal information about yourself:
I am 16 years old and will be entering my senior year at Georgetown High School in the fall. I moved to Georgetown from Massachusetts when I was five with my family of six. I play the piano and guitar, and my interests include history, philosophy, current events, and people. In my free time I enjoy listening to music, reading, watching movies, and hanging out with friends and family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Exhibit Work Begins


Last Saturday, Abby (the intern), Amy (the volunteer) and I worked to uninstall the exhibit Return to Splendor, which was about the history of Williamson County's courthouses.

It took us almost 5 hours to take everything down. That includes HOURS of working to get label adhesive off the walls (a HUGE shout-out to Amy on that one!) and put all the artifacts back in their proper homes.

Now, the space is empty. Tomorrow, our construction guys (Harlan and Mike) will start working on creating a new home for our next exhibit, which will open the first week of August. Keep your eyes open for updates as we continue to install this exciting new exhibit!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mickie Ross Named Executive Director


After conducting a nationwide search to fill the vacancy in The Williamson Museum Director's position, Mike Martin, President of the Museum's Board of Directors, announced the appointment of Ms. Mickie Ross to replace former Director, Chris Dyer. Mr. Dyer served as Museum Director beginning in 2005 before relocating to another community this spring. Ms. Ross previously served the Museum as both a volunteer and board member before taking over the position of Educational Program Coordinator in 2007, in which capacity she has continued to serve until today. Ms. Ross' appointment as Executive Director becomes effective July 1, 2010.

Mr. Martin said that the board received applications from and considered 48 candidates from across the country, all with significant experience in and credentials for museum management. In the final analysis, he said the board was unanimous in its support for Mickie, citing her thorough knowledge of the Museum and the Williamson County community it serves. He also noted her vision for the future growth, development and expansion of the Museum and its programs as well as her deep commitment to the Museum and her obvious, demonstrable passion for it.

"Mickie Ross has distinguished herself during her tenure with The Williamson Museum", said Martin, “and the board of directors is excited about the direction in which she will lead us. The board, staff and members of the Museum have a large vision for the future in Williamson County, and we believe that Mickie Ross is just the leader we have been seeking for our organization.”

Mickie spent 21 years as a professional educator before joining the Fort Bend Museum in Richmond, Texas and then serving as the Adult Education Program Coordinator for the Texas State Historical Association. She has written and published Texas history teaching guides, served as a consultant for Texas history publications, and has presented workshops at state and national social studies conferences. "Mickie Ross brings a wealth of experience to the helm of the Museum", Martin noted.

Ms. Ross earned her BA in education from San Houston State University and resides in Georgetown with her husband, Dale, a CPA and a Georgetown City Councilman.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Books!

We've chosen books for the next six months of Books for Texans Book Club.

July 20, 2010- The Men Who Wore the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers by Charles M. Robinson III

August 17, 2010- Minding the Store by Stanley Marcus

September 21, 2010- Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz

October 19, 2010- The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burroughs

November 16, 2010- Stand-Off in Texas: "Just Call Me a Spokesman for the DPS..." by Mike Cox

December 21, 2010- The Big Bend: A History of the Last Frontier by Ronnie C. Tyler

Books for Texans meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm in the Hewlett Room at the Georgetown Public Library. We hope you can join us!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mark Your Calendars!

We've got a lot going on in the next couple of weeks. We hope that you can stop by for one or all of them!

June 4: First Friday (6 to 8pm)-- Stop by the Museum for refreshments and see our newest exhibit, which opened last month, Recuerdos: Images from Williamson County's Hispanic-American Community. After, stroll around the Downtown Square and listen to the live music from Lonestar Swing Band Syndicate during the street dance (8 to 10pm).

June 9: The Salon at Wildfire (6:30 to 8pm at Wildfire Restaurant)-- Come listen to Glenn Dishong, Water Services Director from the City of Georgetown, talk about water conservation.

June 12: Hands-on History (10am to 2pm)-- Join us in the gallery for this free, hands-on activity for the whole family. This month's theme is Working Cotton.

June 15: Books for Texans Book Club (7 to 8pm at Georgetown Public Library)-- Drop in to discuss our latest selection, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and find out the next six months' selections, too.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Guest Post

Linda Turner has been a Museum volunteer since 2006.



I love volunteering at the Williamson Museum. It’s great fun to meet so many people from all over that come to the museum and it’s even better to meet the other volunteers - I have made some great new friends! It’s also such a pleasure to work with the museum staff - they are so creative and fun.

I have always loved history because it’s always been personal stories to me - never just events and dates in a book. I think in terms of the people in the events as my relatives, myself, my friends. I think what it must have been like for them while a loved one was away at war or seeing your new frontier home for the first time, seeing the new inventions and all the fashion changes, struggling through the awful times - laughing at the celebrations - being young and in love. One’s grandparents were, after all, young and in love long before you entered the picture!

I’ve learned so much - broadened my own experiences - Pioneer Day, Archaeology Day, cemetery tours, book club (great folks there), and trunk shows. History and working with it through the museum has given me good times, chances to meet good people with similar interests, and gives me the opportunity to make history more interesting to students in our schools.

There’s a place for you at the Museum - when you quit learning, you quit living. It’s almost impossible working in a museum to not learn something you didn’t know before - that’s why it’s so interesting.

Linda Turner

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chuckwagons!

Even though the Up the Chisholm Trail event isn't until September, we're already in the planning stages.

The Chuckwagon Committee has been meeting monthly since February. We're applying for funding for the event (thanks to the City of Georgetown for their generous and continued support). Mickie is working on the event permit. We met with our graphic designer about this year's rack card and poster.

And...

We have our first two chuckwagon team entries for the cook-off competition!

Dove Creek from Copperas Cove
Ellis Cattle Co. from Sinton

Make your plans to join us!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This week at the Museum

Before I start with this week, let's recap last week.

1. Two successful days of Pioneer Day field trips at Old Settlers Association. We had well over 500 students over two days of hands-on fun!

2. Recuerdos exhibit opening on Friday night. We had a full house, and everyone had a great time.

3. Pioneer Day at OSA in Round Rock. This year, we had a couple hundred more guests than last year. You can't beat that!

What's on tap this week, you ask?

Mickie and the education volunteers have field trips at the Museum all this week. Right now, third graders from Village Elementary are here touring the Museum, the downtown and the courthouse. Tomorrow, Mickie and the gang will be at San Gabriel Park for an all-day Civil War-themed field trip. Pickett Elementary third graders will be here on Thursday, Williams Elementary third graders tour the Museum on Friday, and then on Saturday the local Girl Scouts will be here all day for Victorian tea parties.

As for me, I submitted a grant application this morning. I have an advisory group meeting this afternoon in Austin, and a chuckwagon committee meeting this evening. Tomorrow night is The Salon at Wildfire.



Next Tuesday, May 18, is Books for Texans Book Club held at 7pm at the Georgetown Public Library (second floor, Hewlett Room). We hope you can join us, and talk about The Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire by Don Graham.

See you soon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Recuerdos

The Williamson Museum is excited to present images of Hispanic culture and history from its photographic collections in a new exhibit entitled Recuerdos: Images from Williamson County’s Hispanic-American Community.

The Recuerdos exhibit will open to the public on Friday, May 7, at 6:00 pm during the Museum’s monthly First Friday celebration. Many of the images featured in this new exhibit, which is open from May to November 2010, were donated to the Museum as part of the Recuerdos project in October 2009. The Williamson Museum invited members of the county’s Hispanic-American community to donate family photographs documenting life in Williamson County. Images from that effort in the new exhibit include May Fest 2009 celebrations in Round Rock, class photographs from the area’s Mexican schools, and eighteen portraits of Hispanic men who served in all branches of the military from World War II to present day.

In conjunction with the Recuerdos exhibition at The Williamson Museum, the Round Rock Public Library will also exhibit images from the Museum’s collection during the month of May. Join The Williamson Museum on Friday, May 7, at 6:00 pm to view these great new images and celebrate Williamson County’s Hispanic heritage.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Working in a Small Museum

The great (and sometimes aggravating) thing about working in a small museum is this: you never *really* know what you're going to be doing. Oh sure, I've got my list of things to do, but something *always* comes up that I hadn't planned. I thought I'd give you a little peek into my week-- my list of things to do and those things that have just popped up along the way.

To-Do List (actually only about half of my list):
1. Recuerdos exhibit: print photographs, write labels, buy mounting supplies, contact donor about which images we're using

2. Secure a speaker for June's Salon at Wildfire

3. NEH grant: finish narrative, contact consultant to discuss project further

4. Prepare outline for upcoming presentation (which will be at 6:30am!)

5. Look into grant for marketing materials for our Up the Chisholm Trail event

6. Continue research/write for cotton exhibit

7. Find a museum that might want items that a potential donor had acquired (they're not related to Williamson County, so we cannot take them)

8. Update blog


Here's some of what's come up in the mean time this week:
1. Try to find appraiser/auction house for murals

2. Try to find a person or organization that deals with steam trains/engines

3. Review report for historical commission

4. Review and make edits/comments on a grant for another organization

5. Scan and make copies of items from the collection for donor

6. Work the front desk and try to fix the computer (or at least figure out what's wrong, which I did yesterday)

Tomorrow, I have a meeting about a tour of the courthouse for the NTHP Preservation Conference in Austin (this fall) and a conference call about a digitization project with my partner organizations. Saturday is one of those 12 hour days. We've got a members' only parade watching party in the morning, and we're staying open until 8pm for the Red Poppy Festival. Monday, my day off, I will be attending the Austin Museum Partnership executive committee meeting, where I serve as treasurer/membership person.

While it can all be exhausting at times, I can't even imagine working in a larger institution. I'd miss the variety of everything we do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Civil War Cemetery Tales- April 17

Join us on Saturday, April 17, from 4 pm to 6 pm at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Georgetown.

$10 per person

This self-guided tour allows visitors to learn stories from the Civil War era told by the people who were there, played by costumed interpreters. Come and meet some of the fine citizens of Georgetown who fought in the War, as well as their families who kept the home fires burning.

Tickets on sale now at the Museum and on sale at the Cemetery on April 17 (day of the event). Tickets are $10 per person. (No refunds. In case of inclement weather, Museum will reschedule the event.)

I.O.O.F. Cemetery
(Behind Southwestern University)
701 Smith Creek Road

Please note that the Museum will CLOSE early (at 3:30pm) on Saturday and staff will be at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

News from the Museum's Director

I am writing today to share some exciting, but bittersweet news. I have recently accepted the position of Executive Director for the Arts Council of Brazos Valley in College Station where I’ll be responsible for “making the arts accessible to citizens of the Brazos Valley,” an area that encompasses seven counties. My last official day as the Director of The Williamson Museum will be in mid-April. Although I will greatly miss the Museum and all of the wonderful people involved, I look forward to a new challenge in my career and a new chapter for the Museum.

I feel it is important to note that I could not have asked for a better board, staff, community and county with which to work. I look back on all that the Museum has accomplished since opening our doors to the public in late 2003 and realize that I owe you all a debt of gratitude for your role in our success. Without your help and generous donations of time, resources and wisdom, the Museum story would not have happened at all.

We officially opened our doors to the public just over six years ago. At that time, we barely managed to keep the lights on and the doors open fifteen hours a week. We did so with a handful of dedicated volunteers, one staff member and next to no financial resources. Look at what we have accomplished in just a few short years! With your continued work and support just imagine what the Museum will do in the coming years!

Thank you again for all that you do and although it is difficult for me to leave Williamson County, I know that the Museum is in good hands. Rest assured that the Museum will continue operations as usual under the direction of a very talented staff and board of directors.

I know that you will give our next director the same warm reception and support that I have received during my five and a half years here, and I also look forward to watching The Williamson Museum continue to grow and prosper, but now from the position of Museum member and supporter. Thank you again for making my time in Williamson County memorable. I will miss you all.

Sincerely,
Chris Dyer

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

We've been busy, as usual. Mickie and Charles (education intern) and the education volunteers have been presenting our trunk programs all over the county. And TONIGHT is the first sleep over at the Museum. We'll be excited to hear how it went tomorrow morning!

I spent a lot of time reworking the Museum's website. I hope it's user friendly and that you're able to find everything you're looking for when you visit.

Next week is spring break at our area schools. If you're looking for something to do, make sure you stop by the Museum. We've got fun, hands-on activities in all of our exhibit areas.

Next week is also the Texas Association of Museums annual conference-- this year it's in College Station. Celina and I will be leaving Tuesday morning. Chris will follow Thursday and Friday. I'll be back at the on Friday, and Celina will be back on Saturday. There are a lot of great sessions, and of course it's always great fun to catch up with our museum friends from around the state.

Celina was awarded a scholarship from the Multicultural Initiatives affinity group, which enabled her to attend. Congrats, Celina!

Here's an idea of some of the sessions that are of interest to collections-type people, like myself:
Identification of 19th century photographs
Picture This: working with film crews
Collections issues during building projects
Thinking outside the Acid-free Box: Museum Archival Collections

And, there are some great sessions that are (at least for me) on the cutting egde for smaller museum:
Museums and Social Media
Using New Media to Create Multi-User Alternate Reality Games
Making a Place for Community Engagement
The Multi-Platform Museum: Bridging Online/On Site Visitor Experiences
Forecasting the Future of Texas Museums

There's so much to choose from; it'll be tough to narrow it down.

We'll see you when we get back!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Salon- TONIGHT (3/10)

Join us tonight for The Salon at Wildfire.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Internship Opportunity

Judge Thomas Proctor Hughes and Tom E. Nelson Families Museum Internship

Description: The Williamson Museum is located in Georgetown, Texas, 30 miles north of Austin. The Williamson Museum is housed in the 1911 Farmers State Bank building and serves as the county history museum. The Museum Intern’s main duties will be to assist with the research, cataloguing, photographing, digitizing, organization and the updating of information in the Museum’s collections database (PastPerfect). Working under the supervision of the Curator, the intern will be assigned collections management projects to complete both independently and as part of a team. In addition, the Intern will be able to assist in the installation of a major exhibit and have the opportunity to research and install a small exhibit independently. Other duties will include working special events, which may require times other than regular office hours (Tuesday through Saturday). This internship program is named for and is established to honor two Williamson County pioneering families: the Judge T.P. Hughes and the Nelson families. To learn more about The Williamson Museum, visit our website at www.williamsonmuseum.org.

Required Qualifications: Applicants are required to have completed or working to complete a master’s degree in museum studies, public history, archival studies or other related field. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in a historical organization or museum. All applicants must demonstrate organizational skills, strong communication skills, the ability to manage multiple tasks, and the ability to work independently as well as in a group.

Compensation: The Intern selected will be awarded a stipend of $4300, based on a 40-hour workweek. The length of the internship is negotiable with a minimum length of 3 months full time. Internships can also be completed for course credit depending on school requirements.

Dates of Internship: The internship may be scheduled any time from May 2010 through the end December 2010.

How to apply: For consideration, please send letter of interest and resume with three (3) references to Lisa Worley, Curator at The Williamson Museum, by email to lworley@williamsonmuseum.org, or by fax to 512-943-1672. Applications should be received by March 30, 2010.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Books for Texans Book Club

Books for Texans met last night at the Georgetown Public Library. The book club meets every third Tuesday of the month (7pm in the Hewlett Room). We discussed Liar's Club by Mary Karr. Mickie and I really liked the book. I thought it was very well written. Of course, the story isn't something that I would classify as happy or even uplifting, but good nonetheless. The book club members were just about split on who liked it and who didn't.

We'd love it if you could join us for book club. We did something a little different this year-- we picked books for the first six months.

Here's what we're going to be reading over the next few months.

March: Spanish Texas, 1591-1821 by Donald E. Chipman and Harriet Denise Joseph

April: Off the Beaten Trail by William Edward Syers

May: The Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire by Don Graham

June: Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin

We hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Salon-- tonight (February 10)

Tonight's Salon at Wildfire features Gene Davenport, the executive director of The Georgetown Project. Gene plans to speak and answer questions about the issue of childhood homelessness, especially as it relates to Georgetown.

We hope to see you tonight @ 6:30pm.



Next month's Salon is March 10, and Gary Chapman from the LBJ School of Public Affairs will be on hand to discuss "Three Big Things Being Changed by the Internet Now."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fighting Back

Thursday night we held the members' only preview party for the new exhibit: Fighting Back: The 1923 KKK Trials. We had a packed house with over 70 people in attendance. We send a shout-out to Wildfire Restaurant for the wonderful food, Cindy Anderson for the drinks, and Lisa David (Williamson County District Clerk) for bringing the original trial documents for everyone to see.

Friday night was, of course, First Friday in downtown Georgetown. Fighting Back drew big crowds (well, and the food and drinks) and we had over 300 people visit us between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. Today, the Austin American-Statesman featured an article about the exhibit.

Here are a couple of photographs of the exhibit. Come by and see it for yourself!



Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Exhibit!

It's done! We finished installing the last piece of our new exhibit this morning, right before docent training started. Tonight is the members' preview party at the Museum. Tomorrow is the official opening day in conjunction with First Friday. We hope that you can visit us soon and see Fighting Back: The 1923 Ku Klux Klan Trials for yourself.

Here's what you'll see if you come in today. (Check back in the next couple of days for images of the exhibit.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Exhibit Construction

We've been busy the last couple of days. I thought I'd give you all a visual tour of what's been going on as we deinstalled the From Smaland Sweden to Big Land Texas exhibition, and we're beginning work on our newest exhibit: Fighting Back: The 1923 KKK Trials.

Tuesday:
Here's the exhibit before we took it down.


































Wednesday:
After I took down all the artifacts, labels and photographs, and the construction guys pulled out elements to reuse in the new design.




































Thursday:
After the first round of painting.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

And, we're back!

We hope you all had a nice, refreshing holiday. I know I did. And, now we're back to the daily routine, if there is such a thing at a museum.

Up next: The Salon at Wildfire. Join us on Wednesday, January 13, at 6:30 pm.



After you've rediscovered Shakespeare, come to the next Books for Texans Book Club meeting on Tuesday, January 19, at the Georgetown Public Library at 7:00 pm. We'll be discussing Texas Politics and Greed by Ross McSwain and Harold Byler.