By Jan White
CROCKETT – The Mary Allen Museum of African American Art and History opened its doors to the public on Sept. 10 - a culmination of the combined efforts of the Mary Allen Museum board, local pastors and their church members, the CEIDC, and volunteers from the community.
The re-opening celebrated the beginning of a new era for the museum, located inside the Heritage House, which is home to art, artifacts, and the history of Mary Allen Seminary College, established in 1886 for African American women, later becoming a co-educational seminary school.
Heritage House had suffered from neglect during the Covid shutdown, but due to the persistence of the board, visionaries, and supporters of the museum, renovations were completed so that the building could continue its original mission - to honor and remember the college and its place in African American history.
Speakers included Dr. Thelma J. Douglass, Mary Allen Museum president, Rev. David Beaulieu, Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher, James Gentry, Executive Director of the CEIDC and CISD Superintendent John Emerich. Each speaker expressed gratitude for the impact that Mary Allen College had – from the education of young African American women, to the history surrounding the college, to future opportunities to educate the youth and young adults of Houston County.
Douglass gives credit to Michael Ewing, art curator and member of the Mary Allen Museum advisory board, for planning the open house program and developing the “artist in residence” opportunity. The artist in residence position was offered to Alexandria Hubbard, who will not only occupy the Heritage House but also act as activity director, facilitating special events that will attract people to the Museum and highlight its continued value to the community. “As an inaugural artist in residency, Alexandria will host an art show exhibition at the end of the residency,” said Ewing. “Also, she is doing art with the Crockett Library, and her art will be displayed in November at the library.”
After giving an overview of the Museum, Douglass thanked everyone for attending and invited the guests to stay for refreshments. Bruce Middleton, producer at Houston Media Source, provided jazz music as a background accompaniment as attendees viewed the various exhibits. Middleton told Douglass that the Mary Allen Museum Open House event would air on television in Houston.