Jasper County Historical Museum reopens


Last Saturday, members of the Board of Trustees of the Jasper County Historical Museum opened the doors to the museum on Main Street in Courthouse Square in Jasper.

The museum had been closed for a year and a half after the director resigned for health reasons in January 2020, then the pandemic closed its doors in March 2020. But the biggest blow to the museum came in the form of the hurricane Laura. , which hit on August 27, 2020.

Laura’s initial damage was minimal, and due to a planned visit earlier in the year that prompted the Council to reorganize, very few of the museum’s exhibits were damaged. However, as Laura’s rain progressed, it damaged the roof more and caused catastrophic damage to the interior of the building.

Over the past 11 months, the building has undergone major structural repairs and updates that will improve the museums’ ability to function as a full-fledged museum focused on Jasper County.

Emily Smith has been hired as the new museum director and through her training and experience, she will be the first true professional museum director Jasper has ever had.

According to Smith and members of the board of trustees, the new look “will allow the museum to focus on its place in education about Jasper County.” Public and private schools already schedule visits to the museum. The seventh grade Texas history students from Jasper Junior High and other private school classes can’t wait to visit.

When you enter the museum, the first thing you see is that the museum is no longer filled with exhibits. The installation has a modern museum look. Just inside the door is a soda fountain that serves Coke in glass bottles and ice cream. The building once housed a pharmacy which had a soda fountain.

“The focus will be on the early colonization of the area until the present day,” Smith said.

Limiting the focus to Jasper County will also help with continued funding as foundations seek the educational function of a museum and if the focus is limited and not just a canon approach to collecting and displaying material. ‘exhibitions.

The reconstruction opened up the second and third floors of the building for storage. Prior to reconstruction, the upper floors had neither air conditioning nor electricity. Now they do.

Some of the items on display were returned to those who donated them because they may not have had a verifiable history, or they were incompatible with the museum’s new focus.

The museum is working on a few other projects, including a walking tour of the Courthouse Square with QR codes that allow people to take their own walking tour of the square and a similar tour of the cemetery.

The Jasper County Historical Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Jasper.

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Patrick F. Williams