Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991 Page: 20
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Mrs. Schultz has also helped develop
the finest and most varied collection of
books on Texas history to be found in the
area. These books are sold in the Museum
Store, which now offers a unique selection
of hand-crafted items from area artisans.
Thanks to the early efforts of Christine
Sanders, one of the most successful and
rewarding programs at the Village has been
the Tyler County Junior Historian program,
which has the distinction of being
the only chapter-in over fifty state
wide-to be sponsored by other than a
At the end of each school term, twenty
mostly middle school students from the
county's five school districts are selected to
participate in a vigorous crash course in
Texas and Tyler County history at the
Village. This includes learning such old
time skills as shingle splitting, mudcat
chimney building, rope making, pottery
throwing, and plowing with a mule-all
taught by qualified volunteers.
The summer program continues with
weekly meetings, field trips, and work sessions
such as the dismantling of an old log
utility crib, which the youngsters helped
rebuild at the Village this past season.
Now in their third year, the Tyler
County Junior Historians have picked up
many awards from outstanding new chapter
in 1988 to being named as the "outstandingJunior
Historian Program on early
Texas history and lifeways as documented
in the Junior Historian video" at the Texas
20 HERITAGE * WINTER 1991
Historical Foundation Awards Banquet in
El Paso last October.
In November, these young historians
hosted over 200 of their peers from Houston
showing their city cousins how things
used to be and sometimes still are in the
piney woods of Deep East Texas.
The visitors were separated into groups
of no more than twenty, then sent off on
tours through the village into the Big
Woods and lunch at the Pickett House, all
led by period-costumed members of the
Tyler County Junior Historians showing
off their docent skills. In 1989, these same
youngsters hosted a similar group for the
East Texas Regional Meeting at the Village.
Those attending both meetings declared
their experience "the best ever."
Through these gatherings, the Tyler
County Heritage Society feels it is putting
Heritage Village Museum to its most
worthwhile use, teaching today's generation
that there was life before television
and cars and amplifiers, and it was good.
Seeing these youngsters dressed in their
period costumes, swinging their partners in
the old time dances in the Dogwood
Festival pageant and on the Village stage
and hearing them talk about their own
ancestors with knowledge and pride is to
know the Village and those who devote so
much of their time to it are doing their job
and doing it well.
Another enormous plus for the Village,
which has helped it earn the reputation as
a major museum, is the annual Harvest
Festival, the creation of Marjorie Schultz,
who shepherded the Village's first effort
just a year after its purchase by the Heritage
This past October, Mrs. Schultz orchestrated
the Village's Third Annual Harvest
Festival with a full cast of talented craftspeople
working in the ways of their
ancestors, sacred harp and gospel singing,
story telling, and demonstrations of
everything from quilting and spinning to
soap making and basket weaving. For two
full days, the Village and its historic
buildings came alive with things to see and
do, touch and taste.
But before the Junior Historians, before
the Harvest Festival, before many of the
programs that have become annual events
at the Village, there was a need to let the
world know what the Village and the
Society were all about. And so the Society
resurrected The East Texas Echo, an old
newspaper form originally published by
Jack Whitmeyer, Tyler County chairman
of the Texas Historical Commission. With
the help of John Yearwood, publisher of the
Woodsman newspaper, the Echo was turned
into a monthly tabloid of twelve or more
pages written and edited by the Society and
published by Yearwood.
The first issue went out in April 1988,
inserted in the paper itself and sent out in
bulk to all Texas Tourist Bureau offices at
points-of-entry into the state, spreading
the word about the many educational programs
and activities in the village, the
history of the county and its people, and
other stories of interest to tourists and historians
Today, the Echo is also mailed in bulk to
other area museums and tourist facilities
with individual copies going to all Heritage
Society members and other interested
people. It is also handed out to all Village
visitors. The map inside serves as a tour
guide through the Village. Guided tours
are available only for groups when advance
notice is given.
As genealogy captures one historian's
interest, archaeology captures the minds of
others, and one month each year is
dedicated to this fascinating subject with
month-long displays and weekly programs
at the Village. While Tyler County has two
knowledgeable amateur archaeologists of
its own, Jack Whitmeyer and Dr. Brian
Babin, a Woodville dentist who also serves
on the Texas Historical Commission.
Other speakers of note are brought in to
Tyler County Junior Historians helped dismantle an old utility crib as part of their summer's
learning experience, and then they rebuilt it at the Heritage Village Museum.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 1991, periodical, Winter 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45422/m1/20/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.