The Fort Bend History Association announced Friday that its History Rising campaign has raised more than $1.1 million — half of its fundraising goal.
History Rising is a special project to renovate the Fort Bend Museum’s building and exhibit space.
The project, which officially launched in January, includes plans for an entirely new, expanded exhibit space and a remodeled exterior with landscaping and a patio area.
Hailed by community leaders as a long-anticipated and valuable update for more effectively sharing the rich history of Fort Bend County, the campaign initially moved from dream to a work-in-progress thanks to leadership gifts from Mary Jane Kocurek, Billie H. Wendt, Kay Danziger, The George Foundation, the Madison Foundation, the Fort Bend History Association’s Board of Trustees and other key community partners.
“This has always been my dream – to see the Fort Bend Museum expand and be able to showcase more of the stories that make up our county’s rich history,” said Mary Jane Kocurek, who gave the first gift of the campaign and is a retired Lamar CISD teacher/librarian and member of the Fort Bend History Association’s Board of Trustees.
“I’ve been a docent since this museum was founded and it’s truly been one of my life’s works to get the museum to be more competitive and engaging for today’s school children.”
Wendt, who has been involved with the Fort Bend Museum even before it opened in 1972, was another early supporter of the History Rising project.
“My mother has been active at the Museum since the very beginning and this project is very important to her,” said Wendt’s daughter, Mayor Evalyn Moore.
“She loves the museum and all it stands for and will be so very happy when the History Rising vision is completed.”
Kay Danziger, who serves as a board member for both Lamar CISD and the Fort Bend History Association, was also very excited to support the campaign during its early phase.
“With me, it’s all about education and kids – I definitely have to be a part of anything that works to enhance both of those! Our county needs this Museum and soon this newly-renovated space will be a reality we can all be proud of and enjoy,” she said.
COMMUNITY CHALLENGE GRANT ANNOUNCED
As part of the ongoing fundraising efforts, the Trustees of The George Foundation generously approved a $250,000 capital grant and also announced a community match challenge opportunity for the History Rising project. From now until the end of 2020, The Foundation will match any donations received toward the project – up to $250,000 – for a total gift of $500,000!
“The Foundation is very excited to invest in the transformation of the Fort Bend Museum to continue to serve as a valuable asset to the community and support the preservation of our local history,” said Roger Adamson, CEO of The George Foundation.
Once reached, the challenge grant alone will put the project at more than three-fourths of the way to the final goal. Tim Kaminski, president of the Fort Bend History Association’s Board of Trustees, said that with the community’s enthusiastic support of this project, he expects that construction crews will be able to break ground in February of 2020 with a potential completion date following at the end of the year.
Anyone wishing to donate toward the matching community challenge can contact the Fort Bend History Association’s administrative office at 281-342-1256. More information can be found at fortbendmuseum.org/historyrising.
ABOUT HISTORY RISING
History Rising is a special project of the Fort Bend History Association designed to renovate and update the Fort Bend Museum’s building and exhibits. The building was constructed in 1972 and the exhibit gallery received its last major overhaul in 1988. The History Rising plan includes an all-new, more welcoming exterior to complement the adjacent 1883 John and Lottie Moore Home, expanded exhibit gallery space (growing from 1,800 square feet to 3,000 square feet) and an enhanced outdoor patio space for community gatherings and hands-on programs. The plans also include a modular exhibit design approach, which will enable the formerly static gallery area to be opened up for community events, lectures and gatherings, and will include more interactive exhibits where visitors can explore and engage in dialogue around diverse stories, voices and perspectives. The building and exhibit renovation needs are $2 million; as of September 2019, more than $1.1 million has already been raised.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FORT BEND MUSEUM:
The Fort Bend Museum is located at 500 Houston Street in Richmond. Built in 1972, the Museum showcases the history of Fort Bend County and Texas history from the early 1800s through the present-day. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+) and $5 for children ages 4-12. Operating hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; historic house tours take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information about the Museum, visit fortbendmuseum.org or call 281-342-6478.
Chartered in 1967, the Fort Bend History Association is a 501©3 non-profit organization that preserves and shares the history of Fort Bend County through exhibits, community events and programs, living history interpretations, school programs and more. The Association manages the programs at the Fort Bend Museum, George Ranch Historical Park, DeWalt Heritage Center and Decker Heritage Park. Other affiliate organizations and programs include the Fort Bend Museum Docents, Fort Bend Archeological Society and the Texian Time Machine. For more information about the Association, please call 281-342-1256 or visit fbhistory.org.