Museum offering Halloween event with a side of Southeast Texas Heritage

Published 12:04 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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PORT ARTHUR — A Halloween-themed event in Port Arthur gives families a chance to get outdoors for some fall fun, but also helps bring attention to one of the area’s most educational facilities.

On Saturday/Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Museum of the Gulf Coast will host a Spooktacular Family Fun Day. Attractions will include a live snake experience, a visit from the Humane Society of Southeast Texas, free face painting, crafts, candy, an ice cream truck, a blood drive and more.

“We do these three to four times a year,” said Curator Robert Fong of the family fun days. “It’s free to the public.”

With sponsorship from Exceptional Emergency Center, Fong added, the first 500 visitors will get free ice cream.

But the event doesn’t only give families a chance to celebrate the season; it brings attention to the building in Port Arthur that houses a wealth of information about Southeast Texas and the notable people who hailed from here.

“There are so many people in the Hall of Fame area of our museum, and when we bring the kids in from the community, we can say, “see all these people who started from humble little beginnings in our town and turned into something great?’” said Education Coordinator Dana Howard. “It inspires them to follow their dreams.”

The museum offers schools in Southeast Texas the opportunity to take free, guided tours for students and teachers.

“It’s just one way we contribute to education in the area,” Howard said.

Fong said following the pandemic, the museum saw a large uptick of senior citizen groups bussing in from Houston.

“We were seeing more of those than people in our area,” he said.

And a lot of that is attributed to marketing, particularly billboards that stretch outside Jefferson County and advertise the hometown of Janis Joplin.

“People from outside the area, a lot of time, are coming to make an attraction to Janis in some form,” he said. “Her legend transcends everything else we do here.”

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is a part of the Port Arthur Historical Society’s mission to preserve the heritage of Southeast Texas, according to information from the museum. The Hall of Fame alone pays tribute to more than 200 Southeast Texans who became actors, directors, singers, athletes, and other notable people.

“I still walk through the museum and learn something,” Fong said.

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is located at 700 Procter Street. For more information, call 409-982-7000.

— Written by Monique Batson