SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - In San Augustine, plans are well underway for an open house on September 9th to celebrate the acquisition of Mission Dolores by the Texas Historical Commission.
The transition is going smoothly.
Mission Dolores was a Spanish mission built in 1721. It's long gone, but a 36-acre state historic site and museum preserves its history.
Since 1999, San Augustine historians volunteered to operate the city-owned property. Time and cost got to be too much, so the Texas Historical Commission agreed to fulfill the responsibility.
"We viewed it as a Godsend," said Al Broden, a San Augustine Historical Society member and site's former manager. I don't think that we could have remained the way that we are. The resources that the historical commission can bring are just outstanding."
In just two months' time the site is fully staffed. A professional interpreter educator will conduct on-site tours and lead outreach programs. Tips from the former volunteer tour guide are welcomed. The exchange is mutual.
"I think Texas Historical Commission can do a lot more than we could do with it, and I think they can draw people," said Claudia Rentrop, a former guide.
The statewide marketing is expected to generate many more visitors. A retail shop will greet them when they arrive. Other expansions are on the long-range plan.
"We're hoping to renovate the museum in the future to make it more interactive, more kid friendly, as well as provide some rotating exhibit space, so there's always a reason to come back," said Mick Haven, the site manager.
Discovered artifacts, like beads and pottery, found at nearby archeological sites could always be a draw.
"It's from, sod and it's from the upper layers," said Dr. George Avery, a Stephen F. Austin State University archaeologist.
From SFA, Avery will continue his service as director of the state historical sites' certified archaeology lab.
"Certification means that they have gone through your facility, and it's OK to store and hold in trust collections," Avery said.
An open house on Sept 9 will bring state dignitaries to San Augustine to seal the partnership of preserving state history.
Mission Dolores State Historic Site is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Admission to the open house on from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 will be free as well.
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