Membership dues make a vital impact on the daily operations of the museum like tours, programs, volunteer training, educational outreach and special events.
Since last fall, the museum provided programs to more than 23,000 children from seven school districts out of a total 11 in Williamson County.
Of 45 central Texas museums Ross contacted, only 14 offered children’s educational programs, and none served more children other than the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum in Austin.
While she acknowledges that it’s difficult to compete for donations with non-profits that help the underserved, she reminds Wilco residents that the museum fills an important and a unique role in the county for children and adults.
American author, screenwriter, film director and producer Michael Crichton once said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”
The Williamson Museum is teaching young generations about the past through its field trips for day care centers and schools. Yet the most popular offering is its traveling trunks.
The 17 wooden trunks each fit into a metal tub on wheels to be carted down the school halls, and when opened, their contents help the history lesson come alive.
For example, the pioneer trunk will contain era costumes, children’s games, a butter churn and a teacher’s guide and lessons.
A cowboy trunk will contain cowboy gear like bandanas and boots, and lessons explaining that a boot is pointed at the toe to get it into the spur more easily.
Currently there are 17 trunks, and each remains at the participating school for two weeks.
Every trunk is tailored to the grade level. At least seven Wilco school districts request these trunks annually, with Leander ISD requesting the most.
While the trunks travel, the museum tells stories through its exhibits that have included World War I, World War II, the Civil War and currently, Law and Order. It honors the 14 law enforcement officers from Wilco who have died since 1848, when the county was established.
An exhibit takes about one year and around $10,000 to create, beginning with research and culminating with the display. The Law and Order exhibit includes a wagon turned upside down and set on four wooden posts with walls made of wooden planks, which is a replica of the county’s first jail.
There are also interactive exhibits, like the Chuck Wagon where kids can come and pretend to cook. And every month, a new art exhibit is displayed.
For a small place, the museum is abuzz with historical offerings. Consider joining!
For more information or to become a member, visit http://williamsonmuseum.org/ or call 512-943-1670. Or go in person to 716 South Austin Avenue after you call.