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Friday, January 27, 2023
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McAllen
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McAllen Heritage Center Museum of History and Culture Heading Toward 15 Years in Service

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The McAllen Heritage Center – museum of history and culture, located in downtown McAllen was founded in 2006 and opened its doors to the public in June 2008. The museum will celebrate another milestone in 2023, its 15th year anniversary in service to the community and Region. The museum is located in the former United States Post Office which was built in 1934 and is a State of Texas designated landmark situated at the corner of Main Street and Chicago Avenue. Upon opening, the museum occupied one-third of the facility but due to the museum’s growth, the building was fully occupied by MHC in 2012. The museum board secured grant funds specifically to fund building needs and also renovated the interior south end of the facility in 2020. Over the years, many improvements have been accomplished by MHC in tandem with the City of McAllen, and the museum is honored to be a steward of this historical facility.

Over the past fifteen years, the museum has accomplished much to be proud of, including but not limited to: the expansion of McAllen historical exhibits, the development of rotating exhibits in partnership with Humanities Texas, The Valley Land Fund, Museum of South Texas History, the RGV Veterans Photo Project and the UTRGV Chaps Program. The museum developed the museum store “La Tiendita” early on and in 2021, sales are also offered online.  The proceeds from La Tiendita sales directly benefit the mission of the museum. Inventory consists of an array of historical books about McAllen and the region, books by local authors, and works by local artisans along with “Everything McAllen” such as tee shirts, caps, magnets, postcards, candles and so much more. The museum’s annual fundraiser “Chuckwagon Dinner”, established in 2006, continues to be a huge success and the partnership with the Costillas Ltd group and Macaroni Grill is a tremendous asset to the museum’s mission.   

Pictured: MHC Leadership  L-R:  Standing:  John M. Kreidler, MHC Board President,  Danny Boultinghouse, Bill Stocker seated L-R:  Board members- Piedad Martinez, Olga Gabriel, MHC VP, Dr. Nedra Kinerk, founder, Elva M. Cerda, founder and MHC Executive Director, and Gracie Silva, former board member. Not pictured:  Board member- Michael Hovar and Spurgeon “Spud” Brown, founder and Director Emeritus.
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One important goal completed in 2022 was the re-dedication and beautification of the “La Placita” park located immediately south of the museum building. A mural depicting a redesign of a circa 1934 postcard called “Greetings from McAllen” was commissioned to local artist and muralist, Lupe Hernandez. The mural and park grand opening was held in April 2022 with many city leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, and numerous supporters on hand. The museum began holding mini-festivals and other events in 2022 and will continue to use that area to bring community members to our thriving downtown area. The MHC has also been a great supporter of our local artists by regularly hosting art exhibits in the “Artists Corner” gallery portion of the museum. In addition, to promote literacy, the museum’s Kid’s “Book Nook” is always fully stocked with gently used children’s books.  Any child that visits the museum is gifted a book of their choice to take home.

Today, museum founder and now Executive Director, Elva M. Cerda manages all operations at the museum she helped bring to fruition along with board member Dr. Nedra Kinerk and Director Emeritus, Spurgeon “Spud” Brown. The founding Board of Directors also included Rick de Julio and Helen Snider of the McAllen Oldtimers Club. They both passed away before the museum opened its doors but were dedicated members of the board and the vision set forth.  Staff members include Joe Vidales- Curator, Stephen Bravo, and Nora Musule – Museum Service Assistants, Gabriel Elizondo – Marketing and social media manager, and David Martinez, Student intern. The board is deeply grateful to the City of McAllen for their constant and ongoing support and to all the museum supporters in the community.  
Follow us on our website: www.mcallenheritagecenter.com and on Facebook for activities planned in 2023 to commemorate our anniversary.

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