Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Love Williamson County: Pioneer Day Poster Contest

Students from Williamson County were invited to submit an artistic interpretation of what makes Williamson county special.  This contest is to honor pioneers of the area who created the wonderful culture we have today.  The exhibit will be up for 6 months and you can come check it out for the first time during First Friday in May from 6-8pm.  See our website for more information on Pioneer Day as well!

Miria Isbell

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New At The Museum Store

We have two new great items at The Williamson Museum Store.  The "just off the press"  Historic Homes of Georgetown has arrived and is already a big hit.   For something a little different we are now selling a local product, Today's Farm Freeze-Dried Fruit Snack from Justus Foods Inc.

This week we will be stocking some new wood toys and some old fashioned candy.

Hope you stop in and use your membership discount to buy some of our new products.   If you are not members we would love to have you join and you can also take advantage of discounts at the store.

Jim Ross
Visitor Services Coordinator

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Behind the Scenes

If you've ever wondered how much work it takes to put up a new exhibit at the Williamson Museum, we'll tell you- it's a lot!! This past January we opened our newest exhibit A Cabinet of Curiosities, and due to funding, the staff got to do must of the 'grunt work'. They never tell you in Museum School that you'll need to learn how to properly apply gold stenciling to a wall, or how to patch holes, tape off an area with painters tape, properly prime, paint, stain, wood grain, or, or... I digress...
I've included a few pictures for your enjoyment, and in order to see the finished product- come to the museum!!! You'll be just as pleased with the new exhibit as we are! ENJOY.

 Out with the old and in with the new!
scraping tape and pulling off boards- our arms were sore!



Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Volunteer Spotlight: Larry Davis

How long have you been volunteering with the WM?
Since April 2010

What are your primary duties?
Cataloging collections, assisting with educational activities and acting as a docent.

How many hours per week do you usually volunteer?

What type of training did you have?:
Volunteer orientation and docent training
How do you feel your work helps others?
By becoming more knowledgeable about Williamson county, I am able to transfer that knowledge to both local residents and out-of-town visitors who come to the museum.

What you enjoy most about WM?
Working with a group of very professional and dedicated staff and volunteers to accomplish the mission set forth for the success of the museum.

What's unique about WM?
I especially like the fact that the volunteer can pick and choose what he wants to do from a wide variety of activities and work as much as he wants within a flexible schedule made possible by procedures developed by museum staff.

As for the museum itself, I think the most unique thing about it is its location. It is a stone’s throw from the courthouse where so much of Williamson County’s history has been made. And, it is on the town square which allows it to benefit visitation wise from people coming to town on courthouse business, to shop and/or sightsee. Local business benefits from people that come primarily to visit the museum and then finish their trip with a little shopping.

Personal information about yourself:
Born and raised in southern Indiana (a native Hoosier). I have a B.S.C.E from Purdue University. Worked in private industry for several small and large consulting engineering firms. Then moved to Texas in 1996 after retirement. I currently live in Sun City with my wife and two cats. We spend summers in Canada and winters in Texas.

Interested in Volunteering? Please contact Celina Aguirre at for more information.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Please DO Touch The Artifacts!

"Please Do Not Touch" signs are common at museums, and help to protect valuable historical artifacts from being damaged by casual handling.  But behind the scenes at The Williamson Museum, our trained collections volunteers DO touch!... wearing protective gloves, of course.  Two times a week, volunteers gather at the Museum to catalog artifacts from Williamson County's past.  Under the supervision of the Museum Curator, they measure, describe, and assess the condition of assorted objects ranging from love letters to chicken feeders and everything in between.  It's a great way for inquisitive volunteers to put their "hands on" history, while also helping The Williamson Museum document its growing collection of artifacts.

Here is a sampling of some of the approximately 500 artifacts that volunteers and Museum staff cataloged in the month of March:
  • 1941 program from a Georgetown High School production of "Headed for Eden"
  • Dust pan from Guarantee Electric Company
  • Instructions for opening a Belford Lumber Company safe
  • Pullman railcar uniform button
  • 1907 United States "Barber" dime
  • 1920 Liberty Hill High School diploma
  • Purple Heart awarded posthumously to Duncan S. Hughes for service in World War II
  • Tellus Company wood burning stove
  • Minutes from a meeting of a 1960s era Georgetown anti-segregation group
  • Photographs of workers mounting the goddess Themis statue onto the Williamson County Courthouse dome
If "Do Not Touch" signs leave you feeling a step removed from history, consider becoming a collections volunteer at The Williamson Museum!  No experience is necessary, and we'll train you on all the ins and outs of safely handling historical artifacts.  Contact the Museum at (512) 943-1670 for more information.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Archeology Day is Coming!

Archeology Day is just around the corner and we are working feverishly to make sure it is the most fun event of the year!  This week I had some dedicated volunteers come to “work day” to help with the preparation for the hands-on stations.  We are going to have a few new stations this year that will be exciting for the whole family- Caddo Trade Fair, Archeology Matters, a mock pottery dig and so much more! 

One of my favorite hands-on activities for this event is making a Native American rattle.  It is fun and easy, just my type of project.  There are 3 easy steps to making this cool musical instrument.  1.)  Take a nature walk or even out to your own backyard and find a good and sturdy y-shaped stick.  2.)  Tie a piece of raffia or twine around one arm of the “y”.  Thread a few beads onto the yarn.  Tie the other end of the yarn to the other end of the stick.  3.)  Make some magical music! 

If this sounds great to you, come join us on March 26th from 10am to 3pm at Berry Springs Park and Preserve at 1801 County Road 152 in Georgetown.  Admission is Free!

Miria Isbell

Thursday, March 10, 2011


One of the fantastic things about working at The Williamson Museum is you meet people visiting the area for the first time.   As an example just this morning we had two visitors from Iowa, two from Minnesota and two from the United Kingdom.  

It is a pleasure to engage our visitors discussing the Williamson Museum, our history, people and how great it is to live in Central Texas.   However, the best part for me is listening to the many wonderful compliments about The Williamson Museum. 

Jim Ross

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cracking the safe...

Hooray!, We have opened the Belford Lumber Company Safe!!
We originally acquired the safe when we were contacted in the fall of 2007 by Rachel Osgood from the City of Georgetown, notifying the then director that there was a large safe IN THE CITY DUMP!!!
It was so heavy, it required a crane to lift it out and transport it to a warehouse where it was kept for safekeeping. We estimated the safe weighs OVER 1,000lbs. It was rusted along the front, sides, bottom, and wheels, and we thought that the doors were rusted shut.
Today, the Director and I met with some local locksmiths and professional safe openers along with Virginia Stubbs, the President of the Georgetown Heritage Society to attempt to open the safe again.

After 1.5 hours of patient attempts at the combinations, our safecracker opened the one door of the safe, and the cheers of happiness rang through the warehouse!
We've included a few photos, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lets Advocate for Museums

Do you love The Williamson Museum? Do you love your area Museums? Do you love Museums in General? Then become our advocate. Be our voice.

The American Association of Museums (AAM) invites you to Capitol Hill February 28-March 1 to speak up for museums. After a day of advocacy training, AAM will facilitate individual meetings with each participant's elected members of Congress. Museums Advocacy Day is an opportunity to bring our message of the value of museums to Capitol Hill and to advocate for policy issues that affect the field. Visit for more information and for fact sheets with tips and tools for advocacy basics, including the rules of engagement, meeting with elected officials, communicating with legislators, and more.

For those of you sticking closer to home, the Texas Commission on the Arts offers a free Advocacy Tool-Kit online to help you develop a plan for advocacy. In it, you'll find detailed instruction onadvocacy and lobbying basics, stating your case, contacting decision makers, avoiding common mistakes, and complying with nonprofit lobbying laws. The tool-kit also includes examples of key messages, templates for writing decision makers, and sample call-to-action letters. Remember, advocacy should happen at all levels and a great place to start is in your museum's own backyard with your city and county officials.

From the Texas Historical Commission.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Bob Payne

How long have you been volunteering with the WM?
Two years

What are your primary duties?
Courthouse Docent/Tour guide

How many hours per week do you usually volunteer? 
5 to 10 per week, sometimes more, lots more.

What type of training did you have? 
I attend all training offered by the Museum. I also have formal training as a briefing officer and public speaker.

How do you feel your work helps others?  
My orientation is towards history, I enjoy learning about history and teaching others about it. Especially the interesting and amusing elements of history which are not very well known. When people hear me talk about history, they usually smile a lot and that means they retain some of what they heard.

What do you enjoy most about WM?  
You can learn a lot about the History of Williamson County at the Museum. I also like working with the people who work and volunteer there.
What's unique about WM? 
I know of no other museum that reaches out to school children as much as The Williamson Museum. Also, it is small but is located in a great building in the center of town.

Personal information about yourself:
Native Texan, born in Big Spring, and raised on the Gulf Coast. Joined the navy in 1955 and served 25 years on active duty. Stationed all over the world at some very interesting places, I was directly involved in the Cuban Missile crisis at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1963/64 and served with the US Marines in a combat role in Vietnam. Was responsible for building Top Secret Intelligence facilities in Florida, Hawaii, VietNam, and Guam. Was also a briefing officer in Washington, DC.

In retirement, I volunteer at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Temple, am active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, (VFW), Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, and am Editor of the Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA) newsmagazine CRYPTOLOG. I also sit on the Board of Directors of the NCVA. My hobby is golf, which I play as much as possible.

Married to Edith Payne, we have a son, Walter, who is in Real Estate in Austin and a daughter, Maria, who lives in Belton with my grandson, Robert.

Have you ever thought of volunteering at the Museum? It’s not just about giving tours. To sign up for February training, contact Celina Aguirre at or 512-943-1670.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adopt An Artifact Campaign

A primary part of The Williamson Museum’s mission, and the job of the Curator & Registrar is to collect and preserve the history of Williamson County. Ideally, each artifact in our collection should be housed in an acid-free box, and wrapped in acid-free tissue paper. Other storage needs include new shelving in the storage areas, bags for storing small artifacts, numbering supplies (India ink, B-72 acryloid, and tags), padded hangers, acid-free folders, and gloves for handling artifacts.

Abby and I have been working to organize the limited space we have available in the collections storage area. By housing the artifacts in boxes with protective tissue paper, we can further protect them from the elements and ensure that they will still be around for generations to come. We can free up space on our shelves by stacking smaller boxes and change wasted space into valuable space for storage of more collections artifacts. The truth is that we never really stop collecting things, and we have to have make sure we can properly protect everything.

And the best part is- You can help!
Your tax-deductible donation to the Adopt an Artifact program will help pay for the care, maintenance, conservation, and storage of the Permanent Collection. You can name an item of your choice—a photograph, an antique tool, a piece of glass, an article of clothing. Or, you can let us decide for you. Your donation is used for the purchase of archival materials such as boxes, tissue paper, shelf lining, etc.

Any amount is welcome, and to show our appreciation, you will be listed in our next newsletter as a proud member of the Adopt an Artifact program. You can contact the museum for more information.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Museum Volunteers Helped Make 2010 Holiday Events Historic

The Williamson Museum is very fortunate to have many talented and dedicated volunteers.  From decorating the Museum to toasting in the New Year it was a pleasure to have worked alongside some very special volunteers this Holiday Season.

A big Thank You to all our volunteers.   I can't wait to see what great things we will do together in 2011.  I have posted a pic below of some of our volunteers in action.


December 4, 2010 - Christmas Stroll Parade
Volunteers from left to right: Linda Turner, Olivia Denton (Linda's granddaughter),
Bob Brownfield, Bob Payne