Conner Museum, South Texas Archives team up to preserve family heritage

John E. Conner Museum - 09/01/16 - 10/03/16

Contact: Julie Navejar or 361-593-2590

The John E. Conner Museum and the South Texas Archives, both located at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, have joined forces to provide a unique opportunity for the South Texas community. Mi Familia-Mi Comunidad will help preserve the Hispanic culture and heritage of the region in a three-event program.

The first event is a geared to promote Mi Familia-Mi Comunidad. Coinciding with Mexican Independence Day, Friday, Sept. 16, the South Texas Archives and the Conner Museum will host alumna, artist and author Carmen Lomas Garza from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Center, 1730 W. Corral Ave.

Lomas Garza will discuss family and heritage as it is reflected in her folk art. Following her talk, Lomas Garza will be available to sign autographs. Dinner will be served and Mariachi Celestial will perform. The event is free and open to the public.

The second of the three events provides the community the opportunity to bring their family photos and heirlooms to the Conner Museum to have them scanned and digitized. Community members may bring their items to the museum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. Staff from the South Texas Archives will scan and digitize up to five photos per person while you wait.

Participants will receive a high resolution digital copy of their photos on a thumb drive and a copy of the digital image will be preserved in the South Texas Archives and accessible to future researchers and genealogists.

A station also will be set up where people may bring family heirlooms. A digital photo will be taken of the heirloom and given on a thumb drive. All original photos and heirlooms will be returned to the family.

Staff from the South Texas Archives also will be recording brief oral histories of community and family. These also will be digitally preserved.

The third and final phase of Mi Familia-Mi Comunidad will be an exhibit at the Conner Museum based on the results of the documentation. The exhibit will be in spring 2017.

Mi Familia-Mi Comunidad is sponsored by a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage Program. All phases of the project are free and open to the public.

“Through Mi Familia-Mi Comunidad, we hope to encourage further documentation and preservation of family histories, heritage and culture in our Hispanic community,” said Jonathan Plant, director of the Conner Museum and director of the project. “We hope this project will inspire all families in South Texas to recognize the value and importance of preserving their own stories and family histories.” 

About Carmen Lomas Garza

Lomas Garza earned her bachelor’s degree in art education from Texas A&I University in 1972. Her paintings reflect her experiences in the Hispanic community growing up in Kingsville.

She is the author and illustrator of two children’s books featuring her paintings and the stories behind them entitled Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia and In My Family/En mi Familia. She also wrote two books on the Mexican tradition of paper cut-outs called papel picado.

For more information about Mi Familia-Mi Comunidad call 361-593-2849 or 361-593-2599.