May 30, 2024


March 2024 – Preserving History and Cultivating Museum Collections

By Jayden Franke – Collections Manager

Spring is the season for sowing the seeds of ideas that we hope will bear fruit in the months ahead. It’s a time for getting your hands dirty, staying active, and celebrating life in all its forms. Here at BHS, the Collections Department plays a vital role in preservation, a practice akin to gardening, focusing on the lifecycle of objects. Just like living organisms, objects have a lifecycle that requires careful attention and balance to ensure their longevity.

Preservation is an ongoing process that monitors an object’s physical and chemical condition to prevent its deterioration and loss of information. Similar to gardening, preservation begins with setting achievable goals. One of my goals this year is to conduct an inventory of the objects at the Chambers House Museum, while also continuing the accession process for these objects.

Accessioning involves measuring and recording an object’s characteristics in a physical file. This process is crucial as it captures an object’s information, establishes an initial inventory for an institution, and serves as a reference for future research on cataloged objects.

Cataloged objects have completed the accession process and have been selected to remain in a museum’s collection. However, not all objects reach this stage due to various factors, such as poor condition, lack of historical significance, or being outside the museum’s scope. If an object is not cataloged, it is deaccessioned from the collection, either donated to a more suitable institution or properly discarded if beyond repair. Cataloged objects requiring repairs undergo conservation work to clean and restore them, ensuring they are preserved for future generations.

Accessioning, cataloging, deaccessioning, and conservation work are distinct processes that fall under the broader umbrella of preservation. Preservation involves several interconnected parts that require continuous review and management- much like a garden.  

February 2024 – By Their Hands

Beaumont Heritage Society’s Chambers House Museum commemorates Black History Month with a brand-new, permanent exhibit housed in the Museum’s Domestic Employees’ Quarters entitled: “By Their Hands: The Lives and History of Domestic Workers at the Chambers’ Family Home.” This exhibit depicts the living conditions of domestic employees of the Chambers family from 1914 and specifically focuses on the lives and work of Nona Williams, Fannie Bowie, and Etta Mack. Panels on the walls of the staff’s quarters share the history of domestic employment in Southeast Texas, the daily life of those who worked at the Chambers House, and the history of the structure. “They Will Talk About Us: The Charlton-Pollard Story,” from Gordon Scott Williams and Lamar University’s KVLU is featured alongside maps of African American communities in the North and South end to inform guests on the life of these communities outside of employment.

“Though we recognize it is a difficult and often painful history, we are honored to tell the stories of men and women like Nona Williams, Fannie Bowie, and Etta Mack. Their stories and contributions to not only our history here at the Chambers House, but also to their communities at-large, deserve recognition and remembrance. Without their work by their hands, we would likely not have the preserved history we have today at the Museum,” said Beaumont Heritage Society’s Executive Director, Shelby Brannan. “We tell these stories not only to reflect on history but to hopefully create better futures together with what we learn. We hope our community will join us.”

The exhibit opens February 6th, 2024, and can be seen during regular tours and scheduled tour times Tuesday – Friday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The community is invited to an event to commemorate the exhibit on February 10, 2024, from 1-3 p.m. Entry for this event is free. Visitors can walk through the first floor of the Chambers House Museum and tour the exhibit space. Community organizations will be present on the lawn and refreshments provided. If you’re interested in attending this event as a community organization, please contact (409)832-4010.

This event promotes Beaumont Heritage Society’s mission to foster a connection to Beaumont’s history and inspire others to value preservation and heritage.

January 2024 – New Year, New Goals

As the clock strikes midnight and a new year unfurls its pages, the Beaumont Heritage Society stands at the threshold of endless possibilities. January marks not just the beginning of a year but a fresh chapter in our journey to preserve and celebrate the rich tapestry of Beaumont’s heritage. Join us as we set sail into the future with renewed enthusiasm, embracing new goals that will shape the narrative of our beloved city.

Innovation in Preservation: Navigating the Digital Horizon

Our first goal for the year is to embark on a journey of innovation in preservation. The digital horizon beckons, and we’re ready to explore new avenues that make Beaumont’s heritage accessible to all. From digitizing more archives to creating immersive virtual experiences, innovation becomes our compass as we navigate the seas of preservation in the modern age. This isn’t just about preserving artifacts; it’s about bringing history to life in ways previously unimaginable.

Why? Because our commitment to preserving Beaumont’s heritage goes beyond traditional methods. By embracing innovation, we ensure that the stories of our past remain vibrant, engaging, and accessible to a diverse audience, transcending the constraints of time and space.

Education Unveiled: A Year of Learning for All Ages

January whispers the promise of a year filled with knowledge and discovery. This year, our commitment to education takes center stage. Join us in unveiling a calendar of learning opportunities for all ages. From interactive displays and a Museum in a Box to captivating lectures, we’re dedicated to making history an engaging and enriching experience for our community.

Why? Education is the key to unlocking the treasures of our heritage. By offering diverse learning opportunities, we empower individuals of all ages to connect with Beaumont’s history, fostering a sense of pride and understanding that transcends generations.

Hidden Gems Revealed: A Treasure Hunt Through Time

January is the month to uncover hidden gems within the folds of history. Our goal is to reveal the treasures tucked away in our archives and collections. Join us in a virtual treasure hunt through time as we share the stories behind rare artifacts, forgotten tales, and pieces of Beaumont’s past waiting to be rediscovered.

Why? Because every artifact has a story, every tale holds a piece of our identity. By uncovering these hidden gems, we ensure that the narrative of Beaumont’s history is complete, vibrant, and reflective of the diverse experiences that have shaped our community.

Community Collaboration: Weaving Together the Heritage Tapestry

This year, we aspire to strengthen the bonds that tie our community together. Our goal is to foster collaboration with individuals, families, and local businesses who share our passion for preserving Beaumont’s heritage. Together, we’ll weave a vibrant tapestry that reflects the diverse and interconnected nature of our city. Additionally, we extend a call to action to our community. Our goal is to encourage preservation pledges—small and large commitments to safeguard Beaumont’s history.

Why? Because heritage is not just about the past; it’s a living, breathing part of our community’s identity. By collaborating with our community, we ensure that the tapestry of Beaumont’s history is a collective creation, woven together by the hands and hearts of those who call this city home.

As the new year dawns, so does our commitment to charting a course that honors the past, engages the present, and builds a legacy for the future. Join us on this exciting journey of preservation, education, and community collaboration.

Happy New Year from the Beaumont Heritage Society! 🎉🏡✨

Written by Alexandria Barney