State research center seeks Orange County history

Published 3:40 pm Saturday, March 18, 2017

Special to The Leader

The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, part of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is on a campaign to broaden its collections in order to more fully document the history of the Southeast Texas region. The Center serves as the official regional historical resource depository for the historic Atascosito District, a ten county area including Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, and Tyler.
The Center preserves and provides access to historically significant records and artifacts from throughout the region. The facility is undergoing a major renovation of its museum space and adding interactive learning exhibits, which will be unveiled in late fall of this year.
The story that will be told through the exhibit is a chronicle of the people and events shaping Southeast Texas . The Center’s collections document many of the region’s historical leaders and significant events. However, in order to create a fresh and multilayered understanding of Southeast Texas history, the Center is calling on area residents to donate historical records and artifacts that supplement existing collections and provide an understanding of the daily life of area settlers and residents.
In particular, the Center’s staff is seeking records and artifacts that document the following areas:
African-American history
Hispanic history
Materials related to the creation of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation and Native American participation in the Civil War
Dutch and Japanese immigration, particularly for rice farming and related activities in Orange and Jefferson counties
Pre-1900 rice production German prisoner of war camps during World War II; and
Women’s suffrage
“One of the most important ways an individual can honor his or her history while supporting the education of people throughout the state is to donate items of historical relevance to archival repositories that can preserve and make available those treasures to countless generations,” said State Archivist Jelain Chubb.
Individuals interested in donating historical records or artifacts to the Center should contact the Center’s staff , who then review any potential donations. Staff must verify that materials fall within the scope of the Center’s policies for acquisitions before accepting them. All items must be originals, and donors must have authority to transfer ownership to the Center.
“For nearly forty years, the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center has offered the people of the historic Atascosito District a place to share the rich history of their region through a renowned repository and learning center,” said Center manager Alana Inman. “We are excited to continue that tradition through a newly renovated, state-of-the-art museum.”
The Center is asking community members to consider donating historical materials by the end of March. Museum designers Pony Allen and Erin McClelland of Austin, in partnership with Exhibit Concepts, will identify materials to be placed on exhibit in the new museum and begin design of custom displays for the items in April.
Alana Inman notes, “The opening of our new museum space is really a wonderful and unique opportunity for Southeast Texans to share their local history with the state and see their story become part of the fabric of Texas history.”
Residents of the counties the Center serves are invited to bring personal items and consult with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s conservator on their preservation. Anyone interested in making a donation of historical materials or learning more about the Center may contact the Center’s manager, Alana Inman, at (936) 336-8821 or for additional information.