The Harrison County Historical Museum has joined the ranks of a special group of cutting-edge museums across the state, having been named the recipient of the 2020 John L Nau III Museum Excellence Award by the Texas Historical Commission.
The award will be presented Thursday at the Harrison County Historical Museum during THC’s 5th Annual Real Places Conference. The conference is hosted in Austin, but is taking place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The museum is very happy to have been nominated and honored to have been chosen to receive this prestigious award,” said museum executive director Becky Palmer. “The Board of Directors would like to thank the Texas Historical Commission and the Awards Committee for selecting our organization.”
The award is THC’s second award for excellence in museums, after the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation.
According to THC, the John L Nau, III Award of Excellence in Museums, established in 2002, recognizes and honors the significant contributions of an individual or institution in the fields of historical interpretation, museum education, conservation of collections and / or community engagement. .
Previous recipients include the Museum of the Coastal Bend at Victoria College for 2017, the Bryan Museum in Galveston for 2015, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts in San Angelo for 2010 – to name a few.
Palmer noted that the Harrison County Museum Board of Trustees has worked tirelessly over the past 10 years to create the exhibits at all museum sites.
“It was a three-phase process,” Palmer said.
This three-phase process included the 1901 History of Harrison County exhibit located at the historic County Courthouse, the Harrison County at War Service and Sacrifice exhibit located in the Steve and Penny Carlile Gallery at Memorial City Hall Performance Center, and the permanent residence of the Inez Hatley Hughes Research Center museum. The museum also features the Places in the Heart Gallery inside Memorial Town Hall and the Traveling Exhibition Gallery.
“Having achieved these goals, our organization now turns to the goal of educational programs for children, students and adults,” noted Palmer. “This includes both in-person and virtual programming, museum tours and lectures.”
Palmer said the museum’s mission is to create the best small town museum in Texas by collecting, curating, archiving and displaying artifacts, which define the history of Harrison County.
“Our educational program is for children, students and adults both inside and outside of our community,” noted Palmer. “Through our permanent, rotating and traveling exhibition spaces, we use technologies such as listening stations, videos, interactive STEM programs and digital programming to inform and educate our visitors.
“Our Inez Hatley Hughes Research Center located at 104 E. Crockett is home to the artifacts that power our exhibition spaces, both permanent and rotating,” she added.
The museum’s opening hours for the 1901 courthouse exhibits are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Performance Center is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The Inez Hatley Hughes Research Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the museum can register online at harrisoncountymuseum.org or dial 903-935-8417, extension 1.