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The Texas Heroes Museum was opened September, 2016 in an empty building. But this was no ordinary building. This beautiful Victorian Gothic stone building had been the Fayette County Jail from 1883 to 1985. When the new county jail was opened, the Old Jail was in bad shape. Local citizens collected donations to repair the building, and their names are in stones in the sidewalk. The building was opened again in 1995 as the office for the Chamber of Commerce and the La Grange Visitors Center. When the Visitors Center moved to the newly restored Historic Casino Hall in September, 2016, the Old Jail became available to house a museum to honor Texans who have served and sacrificed to win and preserve freedom and liberty.
The transformation of the Texas Heroes Museum from an empty building to present has been gradual but steady. The museum is operated entirely with volunteers. Dozens of organizations and individuals contributed artifacts and donations, and several grants made it possible to give the museum a professional appearance.
The Texas Heroes Museum has three main features. First, it is a historic, beautiful building that includes portions of one of the original jail cells. Second, it is a tribute to the men and women who sacrificed to create this great state. Third, it is the home of the Bob Lain Memorial Library. Bob was a Texas Hero who lost his legs in Vietnam. His 868 books on military history are the nucleus of an ever-growing reference library.
Up to the time the Covid-19 virus struck, over 6,000 people from 48 states and 27 foreign countries had visited the museum. The pandemic closed the museum for 14 months, but work did not stop. With the building closed, significant improvements were made in displays and signage. The room that was originally the sheriff’s office was remodeled to give it the look of the sheriff’s office. Artifacts and photographs of Texas law enforcement personnel were moved to this room. The storage cabinets that were in the sally port entrance were moved to make space for new displays that focus on the birth of Texas. New display cases were added to the main cellblock to exhibit additional artifacts. Even though the public had not yet seen the improvements, the museum was voted Best Museum in Fayette County in the Readers’ Choice contest run by The Fayette County Record.
We have not been able to return to our 15 hours per week operating schedule because of the pandemic. A decision was made to open on a reduced schedule, Saturdays only, from 10 AM to 4 PM, starting May 29, 2021. High praise from the recent visitors confirms that the improvements made during the shutdown were valuable.
We plan to implement a program to add docents. If you would like to help the museum by becoming a docent, please contact us.
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