OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S PERSPECTIVE
2017: A YEAR OF TRANSITION CONTINUES
AND PARETO PRINCIPAL
Last year I wrote a newsletter article detailing how 2016 was going to be a year of transition for SLHF. It is hard to believe that 2016 is now behind us and 2017 is in full swing. SLHF accomplished a lot in 2016, but Pareto's Principal is now in play or so it seems.
A refresher on Pareto's Principal also known as the 80/20 rule. Per Wikipedia, the 80/20 rule been applied to a variety of economic case and other scenerios. For examples: 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers; 80% of your complaints will come from 20% of your customers. In our case, it seems like we are spending 80% of time finishing the last 20% of several different components from last year. Some of those components are referenced below.
SLHF and the City of Sugar Land have been jointly designing a Heritage Museum / Visitor Center concept for the second floor of the former container warehouse. The locations for the conference room, break room, offices, and storage area have been determined. The entry area and common use areas are almost designed. Much progress has been made in blending the perspectives / missions of these two entities. At the same time, each facility can fulfill its respective purposes.
We also have been jointly working on an operational agreement that puts into writing how all the functions needed will work. The agreement also seeks to address a variety of scenarios. I would venture to say that we have spent 80% of our time tweaking out the last 20% of changes.
Another component underway is the design of the SLHF exhibit space itself and the first exhibit to be built within the design. The overall design has been through a couple of iterations and is good for now. The first exhibit will be a time-line exhibit covering the following era:
The Prehistoric: before 1820,
Early Settlement: 1821 -1836,
Early Development: 1837 - 1908,
Company Town: 1908 - 1959,
Modern Era: 1959 - current
Most of our effort is being spent on deciding how much space/displays and what details we will include for each era.
Storage space in the new building will be 750 square feet with a 14-foot ceiling. We should be able to stack items high, but it is unlikely we can get all the stuff that we have into that space. That may not be all bad because a number of items do not need to go forward. For example, office furniture, etc. from the 1990's / early 2000's is not needed.
So how do you determine what goes forward and what does not? The obvious solution is to sort through all the items. This is a long process and easy to get bogged down. The intent is not to rent offsite storage, it is too expensive. I would bet that some of you have an offsite storage unit that you have paid for several years and the value of the items kept in the storage has been exceeded by the rent that you have paid. Becky and I fell into that trap a few years back. This project remains as one of if not the most difficult task that we must complete!
Last year we made the decision to keep our interim museum open during the transition. But this year is different, we made the decision to close the interim museum and focus on the future museum. It was a bittersweet decision. It was sad to close the interim museum after 5 years but exciting to focus even more on what is coming.
On the horizon: the move into the new space, the building of our first major exhibit, the displaying of artifacts and other items to tell the Sugar Land story, a capital campaign, and a grand opening.
Now is great time to volunteer at SLHF. We have existing programs that could use your talents and time. Regardless of your age or station in life, we have an opportunity for you to become a part of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation.
The mission of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation is to inspire community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas. Come join us, contact us at 281-494-0261 or visit our website at
SLHF Taking Steps in Preparation for Permanent Museum
This aerial photograph take in 1956 circa is of Sugar Land when it was still a company town owned by Imperial Sugar. The picture was taken from the south / southwest. This picture along will other large pictures and drawings will be a part of an upcoming preservation project.
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation (SLHF) is taking several steps in preparation for opening a new museum in the second or third quarter of 2017. The most visible step will be the closing of its interim museum at 198 Kempner as of December 31, 2016.
Dennis Parmer, SLHF Executive Director, said, "While, we cannot give a firm date for the opening of the new museum, it is very important that we do several projects soon to get prepared for that day. We need to perform a comprehensive review our collection of artifacts. About 10 years ago, SLHF began by collecting / preserving as many items as we could. Our philosophy was to collect / preserve as many items as possible; then when the time was right, determine what would be used in the museum. SLHF has been researching and developing our story line for the museum. With the storyline becoming more clear and concise, it is now time to review items in our collection to see how they pertain to the storyline. To accomplish this, we need to have working space to spread out and evaluate a wide variety of items. As we refine our collection, SLHF now, more than ever, would like to encourage residents to donate items that pertain to Sugar Land, this area, and the people who have made this a great place to live."
Parmer continued by saying, "It is also very important to better preserve and restore some of the pictures that we are currently displaying. When the two panorama pictures taken in 1919 and the 1956 aerial photo of Sugar Land on display were originally framed, the materials used many years ago were not preservation and museum quality. It is important for us to take them out of circulation for a while to preserve / reframe them with the proper materials to protect them. The closing of the interim museum is the best way for SLHF to accomplish the above steps."
Reflecting on the interim museum, Parmer remarked, "It is hard to believe that the interim museum has been open for over 5 years. We opened in conjunction with the Farmers Market in October 2011 for what was supposed to be a three-month run. The success of the Farmers Market gave us an opportunity to showcase some of our artifacts. We have had thousands of visitors since we opened. I want to thank our volunteers for all their efforts. We could not have accomplished this without them; volunteers are the life blood of our organization."
Martin (Marty) Nicholas, SLHF Board President, said, "Looking forward, 2017 will be a huge transition year for SLHF! We will be assessing our collection, designing / planning for the new museum, we will be putting together a capital campaign, and we will be continuing some of our current outreach programs. The SLHF Board of Directors and staff will be busy with a variety of projects to make all of this happen. We will also be calling upon our volunteers to be an integral part of this."
In response to the call for volunteers, Haroldetta Robinson, said, "I am not originally from Sugar Land but I met my husband here; I have lived here for 51 years. I started volunteering at the museum in 2011 and have been involved in lots of interesting projects. I have worked in the office, served as the volunteer coordinator, and have assisted in the saving of many pallets of bricks from the demolition of building on the former Imperial refinery site. I look forward to volunteering as SLHF transitions to its new home."
High School student Elsa Chittet said, "I believe that the Sugar Land Heritage Museum is a great place to perform your service hours. As a student that is fairly new to Sugar Land and to the state of Texas, coming here almost weekly to the museum has allowed me to learn more about the area I live in and the extraordinary history it contains. I believe that even more history will be revealed as a part of the reconstruction in the coming year. I would recommend other students volunteer because it is a nice experience."
Hal Jay, Heritage Hike Coordinator, said, "Even though the interim museum will be closed, I encourage folks to take our Heritage Hike on the second Saturday of each month. The hike is a walking tour of the Hill area in old Sugar Land and includes a tour of the Sugar Land Auditorium. You will learn a great deal about the history of the city!"
NOVEMBER 10, 2016
Speakeasy Has Guests Wanting to "Stay a Little Longer"
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation hosted its second annual Speakeasy party at Anson Aviation's hangar on November 10.
Party-goers were treated with speakeasy cocktails and great food by Brick House Tavern + Tap, Chuy's Mexican Food, Double Dave's Pizza, Imperial BBQ, Mystic Dessert Bar, Off the Vine Bistro, and Safari Texas.
Guests were dazzled with exciting entertainment all evening. Featured performers were Gail Best, the jazz duo of Vel Lewis and Gianna Welling Nitzberg, Ron "The Chairman of the Board" Bailey, and the incomparable Sugar Land Heritage Flapper Girls!
Adding to the ambiance were games of chance (a.k.a. casino) and music from the prohibition era. Also, making its debut was the 2016 Christmas Ornament featuring the 1919 SLFD Fire Truck.
Attendees were given special opportunities to have their pictures taken with three authentic vehicles from the era and a 1930's Stearman Biplane (provided by Texas Taildraggers). In addition, ladies were encouraged to kick up their heels by joining the Flapper Girls in a dance routine to the song New York, New York.
Sterling McCall Auto Group and its dealerships: Sterling McCall Nissan and Ft. Bend Toyota were the presenting sponsor.
Imperial Market (developers of the Imperial Historic District) and Imperial - Johnson Development were the Games of Chance sponsors.
Anson Aviation was the host sponsor.
Other sponsors included Paul & Jonee Barnett owners of Miracle Method, Ray Meyer / Paradigm Engineering, Corey Martin / Martin Mechanical, Stacy Bynes / Welcome Wagon, Becky Parmer / Medical Search, and Ron Bailey / PBK Architects.
Jake Messinger served as the auctioneer. The evening ended with a raffle drawing and many of the estimated 200+ clamoring for more! Dennis Parmer, Executive Director of SLHF, said "It was a very fun and most unique party. We have received tremendous feedback from our guests, vendors, the performers, and our volunteers! We want to thank all of them for their attendance and support. We are evaluating dates for next year and hope to announce that date in the near future."
Don't miss out next year:
Use any means of transportation necessary, but be sure you get there.
Sugar Land Heritage Flapper Girls do the Charleston in one their dance routine at the November 10 Speakeasy.
Picture from front to back are: Front row: Cyndia Rodriquez, Second Round: Patti Martin-Stewart and Diana Collins, Third Row: Julia Michum, Vicki Latham, Yvette John. Looking on are Ira "Mugsy" Liebman and Ray "the Voice" Schilens.
Photo by Randy Kozlovski
Chloe and Max Thompson with Santa
1919 Fire Truck Makes December Appearances to Support Preservation
Photo by Randy Kozlovski
The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and Sugar Land Fire Department partnered together in December to display the 1919 Antique Fire Truck as a part of a preservation and community awareness effort.
On December 10th, the 1919 Fire Truck was on display at the Farmers Market, and on December 17 the truck was on display at the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation interim museum. Attendees at Farmers Market and Heritage Museum were given opportunities to have their picture taken with the truck by professional photographer Randy Kozlovsky. A donation of $10 was requested for groups up to 4 persons in a picture; for 5 or more persons, a $20 donation was requested.
SLFD firemen were available at the Farmers Market for pictures and Santa Claus made a scheduled visit on December 17 for pictures. In all, 57 families / groups had their pictures during the two events.
Dennis Parmer, SLHF Executive Director, said, "We are very excited by the community response and their participation in this awareness / preservation effort. We want to thank our partners the Sugar Land Citizen Fire Academy Association for helping with both days; SLFD and firemen; Kim Broom and the Farmers Market; Randy Kozlovsky; our volunteers, and of course Santa Clause for taking time out of his busy schedule. Parmer concluded with, "We are already getting inquiries about doing this again in 2017."
Proceeds from the event went to the Sugar Land Fire Academy Fire Truck Preservation fund and to the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation. The mission of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation is to inspire community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the rich history of Sugar Land, Texas and surrounding area.
March 11 April 8
Enjoy the some what cooler weather and learn the history of the "Old 300,"
Imperial Sugar, and the city of Sugar Land.
Take a two hour stroll around the Imperial Sugar facility, up to the "Hill" and visit Lake View Auditorium. Hear about the early settlements under Stephen Austin and learn how the sugar mill and then the refinery came to be. Hear about the families who were responsible for making Sugar Land the great city it is today and learn some little known tidbits and some titillating trivia.
Tours starts at the Sugar Land Heritage Museum at 10 am each second Saturday. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 children, free under 12.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
To inspire community pride by collecting, preserving, communicating, and celebrating the history of Sugar Land, Texas.
Sugar Land Heritage Foundation
Board of Directors
W. Martin Nicholas
Roy Cordes, Jr.
9:00 - 1:00
Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Museum
9:00 - 1:00
2nd Saturday of each month at 10:00
$10 for adults
$5 for 12 - 18
Free for under 12
The next walks are
GROUP TOURS AVAILABLE
Dennis's Wish List!
Fire Proof Cabinet for Archivist Area
Steel Shelving to Store Artifact Collection
Funds for Build-Out for Museum Exhibits
Folding Tables & Chairs
Transcription Machine for Oral Histories
THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE WHO RECENTLY MADE IN-KIND OR CASH DONATIONS TO SLHF:
Group 1 Automotive, Marvin Marcell
Sterling McCall Auto Group
Ft. Bend Toyota
Sterling McCall Nissan
Brick House Tavern & Tap, Heather Brenke
Chuy's Mexican Restaurant, Kamel Basma
Double Dave Pizza, Clifton Marble
Eagle Distributing / Stella Artois Beer
Imperial BBQ, Jorge Rodriquez
Mystic Dessert Bar, Wendy Brooks
Off the Vine Bistro, Namita Asthana
Red Barn Framing,
Safari Texas, Monica Coimbra
Matthew & Jane Clark
Houston Diamond Outlet
EA & PA Reed
Veritas Steak & Sea Food
MUSEUM VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR