Work has begun to prepare Florence Chambers’ bedroom for painting. The trim, doors, and windows will be sanded and repainted. The Chambers House Museum will be closed February 5th-19th, 2016 while we get the room refreshed.
The BHS is happy to announce the new brick walk at the John Jay French Museum was completed the last weekend in November as an Eagle Scout Project by William Leister and Troop 601 associated with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
William, along with 20 scouts and adults, spent over 40 hours digging up the old walk, cleaning the existing bricks, leveling, and adding limestone and sand. The new walk is twice as wide as the old walk and is made up of existing bricks mixed with additional Old Carolina bricks. The project would not have been possible without the supervision of James Posey, with Posey Brick Works, Inc.
Other help was given by Jamie Hoskinson with MRT Contracting, LLC, Acme Brick, and donations by families of Troop 601. We appreciate William and his “crew”!
A big thank you to the B.A. and Elinor Steinhagen Foundation for our new fencing. We appreciate the support! Come out and admire the beautiful new fence in front of the museum complex, along the side yard, in front of the cemetery, behind the blacksmith shop and along the parking lot at the visitor center. This addition not only beautifies the grounds, but also helps secure the property as well as defines the museum complex borders, adding privacy. We love it!
Underwritten by Susan and Roger McCurry *
In Kind Donations *
SONIC-McKibbin Group Franchisee *
Colorado Canyon *
Nothing Bundt Cakes *
Earth Analytical Sciences, Inc. *
Burns Antik Haus*
Cabell’s International *
Christina and Josh Crawford*
Cici’s Pizza *
Councilmember-At-Large, Gethrel Williams-Wright *
Dance Solutions *
FUMC Estate Sales *
Garrison Fuller – RE/MAX ONE *
Gingham & Pearls *
Heartfield Designs *
Honey B Ham *
J. Mark & Denise Smith *
Jack’s Pak It *
Jennifer Pate *
Katharine & Company *
McFaddin-Ward House *
Regina Rogers *
Seafood Lover *
Thairapy Salon & Spa *
UPS Store *
Zachary & Lauren Smith *
Thank you for supporting Beaumont History!
Happy summer from the John Jay French Museum! This season has been an extremely busy one and we are excited to report that tours are up due to vacationers and, of course, group tours. The Beaumont Heritage Society was organized, in part, for educational purposes. One way we fulfill this obligation is through our tours of the John Jay French and Chambers House museums throughout the year. If you haven’t been in a while, you need to gather your friends and family and come for a visit! Do you want to know why all those holes are punched into the tin on the French family pie safe, or even what a pie safe is? We have docents that can tell you and after Camp Lookinback 2015, we have a fair number of six to eleven year old children who can tell you, too!
Each July at the French Museum, we get to surround ourselves with up to 60 inquisitive children who receive an immersive history lesson without even knowing it! They are having that much fun! This year was no exception. Campers didn’t just learn how to write with a quill pen, they got to make their own ink from blackberries. Hungry? What would Sally French do? She would make corn fritters, of course, so that’s exactly what the kids did. Those fritters tasted even better after campers worked up an appetite grinding corn!
Our four day summer camp consists of twelve activities each session. This year, kids experienced a 1800’s school day and hands-on farm animal care, participated in a mock archaeological dig, made Native American art, and even learned how to make arrowheads by flintknapping. Kids also learned all about pitcher plants and got to make one of their own, and washed clothes and fetched water the old fashioned way. As if all that wasn’t enough, there were lots of giggles heard during our deportment segment dancing the Virginia Reel!
We are so very grateful to the many individuals who volunteered their time and talents by sharing them with the children at Camp Lookinback. We would like to thank archaeologists Dr. Charlie Bollich and Brenda and Ron Jackson; M. Jeanene Ebeling and Terrie Looney from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center; Leslie Lloyd and the 8th Bridge City Red Raiders; artist, Susan Mosier; flintknapper, Tim Durr; Big Thicket National Preserve rangers; Ramona Hutchinson from JCHC; Carla Tucker; Randy Pemberton; Nancy Cook; Mark Phelan; and our many camp counselors. We would also like to thank the YMBL for providing a grant which enables us to offer scholarships to children in underserved communities. Folks like these help us ensure that Camp Lookinback is both fun and educational and available to children through-out the Golden Triangle. Look for all new activities at Camp Lookinback 2016!
Janci Kimball, Assistant Director
July brought the beginning of our new fiscal year at the Beaumont Heritage Society. We welcomed new Board members and formed fresh committees to tackle the needs of the organization and help further our mission for the next twelve months. It’s an exciting time; planning events, new educational programming, and preservation projects.
Hosting events at our historical house museums, and occasionally at other historically significant locales in Beaumont, allows us to share our city’s heritage and provide a valuable glimpse into a way of life few live today. Preservation of these historic structures matters. They give a community its identity and flavor. They bring back childhood memories of visits long ago or remind people of beloved family members who may have lived in a similar way. A visit to our museums sparks the imagination. Visitors love hearing about the families and seeing the different architecture and furnishings from bygone days; we love coming up with unique events to showcase them.
We are very excited to be hosting a Pumpkin Walk on the grounds of the French Museum on October 17th. We plan on making this an annual event. Everyone is invited to decorate or carve a pumpkin to enter into a contest for prizes. Pumpkins will be judged by the visiting public of the Pumpkin Walk by popular vote. Categories for judging include Scariest Pumpkin, Best Carved, Funniest Pumpkin, Most Creative, and Best Overall. Admission is $5.00. Children will have an opportunity to take part in a craft and members of Beaumont Community Players will be on hand to help bring departed French family members back for the evening in a haunted tour of the historic home and grounds. We are also reaching out to other local non-profits and asking them to submit a decorated pumpkin (no carving, please) into our silent auction to raise awareness and promote their organization. Proceeds from the auction will be equally shared to benefit the BHS and the participating non-profit. In addition, businesses have an opportunity to sponsor the event and will be recognized on printed material, social media, and on our website.
The fun doesn’t end there! We have our Haunted Halloween Heritage Happy Hour taking place on Thursday, October 22nd at the Chambers House Museum. Watch Beaumont Community Players bring the Chambers family to life on a special tour of this wonderful home. While this is an annual event, we have made some changes to keep it fresh and engaging! Admission is free to BHS members and includes craft beer selections provided by Giglio Distributing, Inc. for those 21 and over. Non-members are welcome with admission of $10.00 (21 and older). Everyone under 21 FREE of charge. Don’t miss these fun October events!
Alicia McKibbin, Executive Director
Since its founding in 1967, the Beaumont Heritage Society has been a leader in historical preservation and promotion in our community. The forming of our society was in response to the need to protect our local historical landmarks such as the John Jay French home. We have been able to continue the mission of our history-based, non-profit organization due to the support and efforts of the members, staff, and volunteers. The Beaumont Heritage Society has been an asset to our home city, but we, as a leader in our community, always want to do more. This will only be possible with the continued success of fundraising efforts and the community outreach that defines the Beaumont Heritage Society.
In the past, the BHS has not only focused on education and the promotion of local history within museums, but also in our schools. In the preceding months, the staff has coordinated with local schools to bring field trips to the Chambers House and back to the John Jay French House. Also, the BHS Board has recently approved the forming of an Ad Hoc Education Committee to discuss education and how we can expand our efforts by possibly bringing our resources directly to the schools or the launching of a potential internship or young docent program. It is important that we not only preserve history, but also promote it to the future generations in our community. In The Historian in the Local Historical Museum, Douglas Dolan states that it is essential that the historian, the museums, and relevant historical bodies “be the catalyst to inspire and stimulate people to comprehend the past and its impact on the present and the future.” By educating and reaching out to the community, the Beaumont Heritage Society will be fostering future preservers and protectors of history and historical landmarks and resources.
As the BHS expands our programs and preservation efforts, we must also expand our fundraising and membership involvement. The staff, board, and volunteers have worked in recent years on such events as the Moonlight Masquerade Ball and the spring Easter Egg Hunt. This fall, on October 17th, we will be hosting the revived Pumpkin Walk at the John Jay French Museum. The public is invited to attend this fun, family-friendly event, with proceeds benefitting the Beaumont Heritage Society and its mission. This event is being planned and carried out by the staff and the Ways and Means Committee. All members are invited to attend committee meetings and participate. Please, do not hesitate to contact a BHS board member or staff with your ideas and willingness to help.
We are excited for the continued growth of the Beaumont Heritage Society and its efforts, and we look forward to seeing each of our members at future events.
Mark Phelan, President
The Chambers and their families have a rich history of service. Here, we focus on the period from the Spanish-American War through World War II. From Homer’s service in the Army to Florence and Ruth’s many volunteer hours with the Red Cross, come hear their stories, told through artifacts, photographs, and letters.
Regular tour hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please make reservations for groups of 10 or more at 409-832-4010.