LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Texas Forestry Museum houses more than 30,000 artifacts. This week they began renovations on three of their permanent exhibit rooms.
“We do have temporary exhibits that come in and out throughout the year just to make things a little different for our repeat visitors, but the permanent exhibits stay the same,” said Kendall Gay, museum director. “And although they were really great exhibits when they were installed they’re just a little dated, so it’s time to give them a refresh.”
The museum is nonprofit, so they request grants from local agencies to help pay for the different projects. Lufkin’s Hotel Motel tax fund helps as well.
“So it’s just something that you kind of have to back up money-wise to make sure you have enough money to get all the way through it and not to get halfway through and be delayed,” Gay said.
An auditor came through a couple of years ago and walked the museum as a visitor would. A report based on their experience helped the staff decide what to improve.
“One of the things is in one of our front hallways, you have two options when you get to the end, you could go to two different rooms,” said Gay. “She said just giving visitors that much of a decision, sometimes they make a decision to go one way and it totally cuts off, they never get to the other side of the museum because they didn’t choose to follow that path.”
There are steps they have to take to keep the artifacts and space safe.
“We just need to make sure that we don’t harm the artifacts so we’ve done things like put drape cloths on really big objects that we can’t move. Or take out artifacts and store them safely so that they don’t get paint or dust or damaged,” said Gay.
The museum hopes to add more interactive options for guests and provide duplicates of historical artifacts for guests to hold.
“I think sometimes you just feel a lot, you learn a lot more of the history when you can participate in it,” Gay said.
The staff is hoping to have work completed by spring break and said they will remain open during renovations. Admission is free and they are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.