The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation (SLHF) is taking several steps in preparation for opening a new museum in second to third quarter of 2017.
The most visible step was the closing of its interim museum at 198 Kempner as of Dec. 31.
“While, we cannot give a firm date for the opening of the new museum, it is very important that we do several projects soon to get prepared for that day,” said Dennis Parmer, SLHF executive director. “We need to perform a comprehensive review our collection of artifacts. About 10 years ago, SLHF began by collecting / preserving as many items as we could. Our philosophy was to collect / preserve as many items as possible; then when the time was right, determine what would be used in the museum.
“SLHF has been researching and developing our story line for the museum. With the storyline becoming more clear and concise, it is now that time to review items in our collection to see how they pertain to the storyline. To accomplish this, we need to have working space to spread out and evaluate a wide variety of items. As we refine our collection, SLHF now, more than ever, would like to encourage residents to donate items that pertain to Sugar Land, this area, and the people who have made this a great place to live,” he said.
Parmer continued by saying, “It is also very important to better preserve and restore some of the pictures that we are currently displaying. When the two panorama pictures taken in 1919 and the 1956 aerial photo of Sugar Land on display were originally framed, the materials used many years ago, were not preservation and museum quality materials. It is important for us to take them out of circulation for a while; preserve / reframe them with the proper materials to protect them. The closing of the interim museum is the best way for SLHF to accomplish the above steps.”
Reflecting on the interim museum, Parmer remarked “It is hard to believe that the interim museum has been open for over five years. We opened in conjunction with the Farmers Market in October 2011 for what was supposed to be a three-month run. The success of the Farmers Market gave us an opportunity to showcase some of our artifacts. We have had thousands of visitors since we opened. I want to thank our volunteers for all their efforts. We could not have accomplished this without them, volunteers are the life blood of our organization.”
Martin (Marty) Nicholas, SLHF board president, said, “Looking forward, 2017 will be a huge transition year for SLHF. We will be assessing our collection, designing / planning for the new museum, we will be putting together a capital campaign, and we will be continuing some of our current outreach programs. The SLHF board of directors and staff, will be busy with a variety of projects to make all of this happen. We will also be calling upon our volunteers to be an integral part of this.”
In response to the call for volunteers, Haroldetta Robinson, said, “I am not originally from Sugar Land but I met my husband here; I have lived here for 51 years. I started volunteering at the museum in 2011 and have been involved in lots of interesting projects. I have worked in the office, served as the volunteer coordinator, and have assisted in the saving of many pallets of bricks from the demolition of building on the former Imperial refinery site. I look forward to volunteering as SLHF transitions to its new home.”
High School student Elsa Chittet said, “I believe that the Sugar Land Heritage Museum is a great place to perform your service hours. As a student that is fairly new to Sugar Land and to the state of Texas, coming here almost weekly to the museum has allowed me to learn more about the area I live in and the extraordinary history it contains. I believe that even more history will be revealed as a part of the reconstruction in the coming year. I would recommend other students volunteer because it is a nice experience.”
Hal Jay, Heritage Hike Coordinator, said, “Even though the interim museum will be closed, I encourage folks to take our Heritage Hike on the second Saturday of each month. The hike is a walking tour of the Hill area in old Sugar Land and includes a tour of the Sugar Land Auditorium. You will learn a great deal about the history of the city.”
Heritage Hikes are held the second Saturday of each month (weather permitting) at 10 a.m. at the old SLHF museum at 198 Kempner St., in the two-story red brick building next to the eight-story red brick building. The tour takes about 90 minutes and covers about one mile. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12-18, and free for children under 12. To make reservations, call 281-494-0261 or email: Dennis Parmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.