Amid the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the Beaumont Heritage Society will suspend tours of our two historic house museums; the Chambers House Museum and the John Jay French House Museum. We will return to our regular schedule once the CDC and other relevant official health and government entities feel the situation is fully under control. We look forward to welcoming you back!
Beaumont Heritage Society has had a busy first quarter of the year with efforts in preservation, events, and conferences!
January saw exciting things as Executive Director Alicia McKibbin, Executive Assistant Chevelle Thomas, and Assistant Director Shelby Dryden attended the Real Places 2020 conference in Austin to learn about state-of-the-art preservation techniques. They spent three days in class learning about new developments in caring for historic buildings and best practices in history-based nonprofit organizations.
After Tropical Storm Imelda, Heritage Society staff began noticing a build up of moisture at the John Jay French Museum and began searching for a cause. Moisture and humidity are an enemy to the preservation of old homes and the historic artifacts inside them. Living in Southeast Texas, removing moisture entirely is not an option, but managing the amount of moisture is.
In February, BHS staff took a trip to visit the Galveston Historical Foundation to meet with staff about preservation techniques to prevent the spread of moisture in the John Jay French Museum. This meeting led to new discoveries about possible sources of the moisture. BHS staff is working hard at finding solutions to safeguard the historic structure from further damage, especially with the threat of torrential downpours from hurricanes and tropical storms. Stay tuned.
Latest Event News
Heritage Happy Hour at the Tyrrell Historical Library was a huge success drawing 127 in attendance. Attendees were treated to a tour of the recently restored library, built in 1903. Fry Daze food truck was out, serving guests quesadillas and tacos as they enjoyed beer showcased by Giglio Distributing Co. The Heritage Happy Hour was met with tons of support and saw Beaumont Heritage Society gain nine new memberships! Memberships are a primary source of financial support for BHS. All proceeds from memberships go directly to the care and maintenance of the John Jay French Museum.
Make sure to check back with Beaumont Heritage Society for announcements on news, updates, and upcoming events like the Lawn Party!
Beginning the week of December 23rd, 2019 our museums will observe the following hours of operation:
We are available for tours at the John Jay French Museum and Chambers House Museum on December 26 and December 27 from 10:00am-3:00pm and on December 28 from 10:00am-2:00pm.
We are available for tours at the John Jay French Museum and Chambers House Museum on January 2 and January 3 from 10:00am-3:00pm and on January 4 from 10:00am-2:00pm.
We will be closed for tours on all dates not listed and will resume normal tour hours beginning January 7, 2020.
The Beaumont Heritage Society wishes you a very happy holiday season filled with joy and love!
We have been hard at work hosting our two annual Halloween events!
Beaumont Heritage Society held the Pumpkin Walk and Haunted Halloween Tour at the John Jay French Museum on Saturday, October 24th from 6-9p.m. with over 350 in attendance. Children and adults were thrilled to vote on the 60 pumpkins decorating the grounds!
Guests also enjoyed a special “spooky” tour of the 1845 John Jay French house where actors Mike Rodgers, Jeri Sullivan, McKenna Bradford, and Ed Seymour portrayed members of the French family, delivering monologues about the family’s travel and time spent in Texas. Caroline Badon portrayed Nancy French on a haunted hayride of the historic grounds, where guests viewed a replica tannery, blacksmith shop, and the French family cemetery. Hay riders also encountered grounds “ghosts” portrayed by Brad Franks, Brandon Franks, and Sarah Vickery!
Beaumont Heritage Society’s Haunted Halloween Heritage Happy Hour took place October 24th, 2019 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Chambers House Museum. Guests enjoyed craft beer from Giglio Distributing who showcased a selection from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. on the beautiful Chambers House lawn.
Inside the Chambers House, actors Emily Buesing, Jessica Paskell, Patrick Anderson, and Lynette Bloyd portrayed our dearly departed Florence, Ruth, Homer, and Edith respectively. Under special lighting, the actors delivered short monologues about their character’s lives in the home to 75 guests.
Beaumont Heritage Society is passionate about creating events centered around fun and education. Beaumont Heritage Society would like to extend a thank you to all of the volunteers who made these events possible. Please watch for these annual events in 2020 – you won’t want to miss them!
We appreciate the support of these community partners and individuals!
Beaumont Heritage Society once again hosted our annual Camp Lookinback at the John Jay French Museum! Every year, Camp Lookinback aims to educate kids about the French family through activities and practices that the French family might have used. From July 9th-12th and July 16th-19th, the kids stepped into the past one day at a time! By the end of each week, the kids were immersed into what life was like for the French family.
On the first day, Stable-Spirit taught the kids about horse care with horses on property. They were taught about horses throughout history, horse care, and also learned how to lead a horse before getting to do it themselves! This was definitely a fan favorite of the kids! They also learned about cattle branding from Deputy Don Metts with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office along with a special roping demonstration.
Day two had the kids learning about what Christmas would have been like for the French family! They made wreaths and “buckskin” ornaments just like the French family might have made their own Christmas decorations! They also tried their hand at gift making by making yarn dolls! Kids were so excited about their yarn dolls that they all asked to bring them home early!
Day three was made possible by the Big Thicket Park Rangers. They captured the kids’ attention with their Skins and Skulls program, and also taught them all about the Food Web and how it would have been important to the French family! Cooking on an open flame with Elizabeth Schreck had the attendees enjoying pancakes cooked outside on a cast iron skillet!
The last day culminated with a tour the oldest fully restored home in Beaumont, the John Jay French Museum. Mary Nash and Becky Tabor with The Golden Triangle Quilt Guild taught the kids about how quilting was done, which turned out harder than they expected. Carol Weishampel was on hand to talk about leather! The kids practiced stamping leather and learned more about John Jay French’s leather practices.
Camp was chock full of fun, games, AND history. We had the best two weeks with our Camp Lookinback kiddos, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!
The John Jay French Museum has a “rowdy” addition in the form of its new mascot, Rowdee Raccoon! Rowdee can be found on our new grounds tour signage, made possible by the financial support of Susan Conn McCurry and The Crawford Foundation. The signage, placed at all of the outbuildings and the family cemetery, allows guests to enjoy the historic grounds while reading about the French family and the historic use of the facilities on property explained with the help of historian and French decendant, Judith Linsley. Rowdee Raccoon was brought to life by artist Aggie Bollman and illustrator Chase Dryden. Beaumont Heritage Society is grateful to all those involved in making Rowdee Raccoon and our educational signage possible! Make plans to come take a look!
We had many, many fabulous entries in this year’s contest in both the Adult and Child categories. Enjoy looking at the winners in each category and plan on entering the contest next year! Thanks to all who entered the contest and attended the event. Special thanks to all who volunteered their help ~ we couldn’t do it without you! We appreciate Elizabeth and Russ Waddill, who underwrote the event, our sponsors Regina Rogers and Suzanne Lewis, and in-kind sponsors Sonic Drive In, Cici’s Pizza, and Tractor Supply. We love sharing Beaumont’s history with the community in fun, unique ways! Until next year…
Eagle Scout candidate and Boy Scout Troop 65 member, Victor Thornton, went to work with his crew to build new wooden benches for use on the John Jay French Museum grounds. They will be put to good use during our events, tours, and demonstrations of 1800s related activities. Victor is a high-honors student at Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School where he serves as the Junior Class President. He is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and the Kelly track and soccer teams. We appreciate this impressive young man choosing the Beaumont Heritage Society’s historic John Jay French Museum as the beneficiary of his Eagle Scout project. Great job, Victor!