Shelby County Museum kicks off 2019 membership drive

Venue serves as a major repository of Shelby County history
If you go WHAT: Shelby County Muesum WHERE: 230 Pecan Street, Center in the former Weaver-Oates Home, cira 1900 WHEN: Open 1-4 p.m., Monday-Friday; after hours by appointment WHAT: Exhibits of county history, census data, family history, American Indian history and WHO: Operated by the Shelby County Historical Society TO SUPPORT: Memberships or donations can be made to: Shelby County Historical Society, P.O. Box 1542, Center, TX 75935-1542 FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit:; call (936) 598-3613

NOTE: The museum is currently closed for the Christmas and New Year's holidays and will reopen in January.

The Shelby County Museum is looking for supporters in 2019 to help keep the doors open, the lights on, the heat and air conditioning flowing and to keep the history of Shelby County alive and preserved.

Vernorah McSwain, president of the museum, said the museum should be important to the community now and in the future. For people interested in the history of Shelby County, and the role the county has played in local and Texas history, the repository of information and artifacts is a vital link to the past.

From historic U.S. Census Bureau records to family histories, news clippings of historic events and loads of genealogy records, the museum is a valuation resource, McSwain said.

“We have a lot of out-of-town visitors who come to town to use our genealogy records,” she said.

As important as the museum is in preserving the past, its history could be in jeopardy without more broad-based community support. Leonard Irish, treasurer for the museum who has been involved as a volunteer about 20 years, said the museum receives no public funding.

“It's all from private donations and memberships,” Irish said. The museum's annual membership drive will be getting underway soon with membership renewal letters being mailed out, he said.

“Now, that's not good enough” to maintain the facility, he said. “At one time we had 200-to-300 members. Now it's only about 100.”

Irish said the museum has renewed its IRS nonprofit status so anyone wanting to make tax deductible contributions have that added advantage.

In addition to seeking financial support, the museum's board and officers area also seeking more volunteers, Irish said. There is currently a core of about six or seven volunteers who shoulder most of the responsibility of maintaining exhibits and keeping the doors open, he said.

Located at 230 Pecan Street, the museum is open 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Irish said keeping the museum cool in the summer and heated in the winter along costs $300 to $400 a month.


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