From western forts to Victorian mansions and pivotal battlegrounds, the Texas Historical Commission's 20 state historic sites exemplify a breadth of Texas history. Come explore the real stories at the real places.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Preservation in Progress at the Sam Bell Maxey House

by Lynn Deal, Sam Bell Maxey House Site Manager

These past two months have seen much activity at the Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Site. While the physical aspects of the current work aren’t immediately evident, preparations are well under way for a successful exterior preservation project. The grand finale of the current scope of work will be a new paint job on the home’s exterior.
The Maxey’s recent projects include deep soil samples; lead and asbestos tests; development of site signage, outreach, programs and exhibits; and a conservation assessment of artifacts. All have been concurrent with daily site operations, which include providing tours to the public.
Soil samples

The current work, including the exterior preservation and paint, is part of a larger museum industry component. It addresses immediate cosmetic and foundation needs and work that is integral to the long-term success and sustainability of the home as a prominent Texas and National Landmark.
Currently, the Maxey is undergoing an architectural phase, where the various components of the design and building are compiled and reviewed as a whole prior to the construction process. Within this planning stage, the operational, interpretive, curatorial, maintenance and architectural needs are considered in relation to the exterior work. Once this stage is complete, the construction work will be reviewed, approved and contracted. This careful planning is taking place now so the physical labor can be carried out in a timely and productive manner without adverse effects on the rest of the Maxey House, its artifacts or the grounds.
Specialists and staff meeting at the Maxey House to discuss preservation plan

The very nature of a house museum requires interdisciplinary parties to address a variety of needs every day. Through a construction process, such as the one taking place at the Maxey House, specialists must take time to work through the different angles and potential issues, ensuring construction will not be detrimental to the fragile museum environment.
Additionally, a specialized understanding is extremely important to the stewardship of this or any other historic site. In a nutshell, the preliminary work that is currently being achieved will ultimately provide clear, well-defined decisions that will preserve this fine old residence on Church Street for generations yet to come.

**The Sam Bell Maxey House is located in Paris at the corner of Church and Washington streets in the Texas Lakes Trail Region

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Falls on the Historic Sites

Texas Historical Commission's State Historic Sites in white...
Confederate Reunion Grounds
Confederate Reunion Grounds
Caddo Mounds
Caddo Mounds
Caddo Mounds
Starr Family Home
Starr Family Home
Starr Family Home
Fort Griffin (staff member Eric Abercrombie rolls up a snowman!)
Fort Griffin
Fort Griffin
Fort McKavett in the December snow
Fort McKavett in the December snow
Fort McKavett in the December snow

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Varner-Hogg Takes History to the Teachers

by Sue Miller, site manager for Varner Hogg Plantation


Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site Curator Angela Pfeiffer and I recently had the pleasure of participating in the Houston Museum Alliance’s Educators Open House. The Alliance hosted more than 25 museums, aquariums, gardens and historic sites at five Houston locations.
We were stationed in the Great Hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where we spoke with more than 100 educators and museum visitors. What a great opportunity it was to talk about everything Varner-Hogg has to offer educators. We hope to be seeing some of the teachers and their students soon on the plantation. It was our first year at the event — but you can be sure it won’t be our last.

Varner-Hogg Plantation is located two miles north of West Columbia on FM 2852 in the Texas Independence Trail Region.