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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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McAllen
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Thank You for Your Support McAllen!

McAllen Heritage Center: Celebrating 15 Years of Growth, Community Support, and Cultural Enrichment

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Pictured above the McAllen Heritage Center Board members (MHC). Front row sitting L-R: Maria Piedad Martinez, Olga Gabriel, Dr. Nedra Kinerk, Founder, Elva M. Cerda, Founder and Exec. Director, Gracie Silva, former board member. Back row standing: John M. Kreidler, MHC Board Chairman; MHC Directors: Danny Boultinghouse, and William “Bill” Stocker. Not pictured: John David Franz. Courtesy Image
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Special to Texas Border Business

Over the past fifteen years, the museum has accomplished much to be proud of, including but not limited to the steady growth 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, the Bob Bullock Museum and the UTRGV Chaps Program. The museum store “La Tiendita” has been a success for MHC, and in 2021, the store went online. The proceeds from ” La Tiendita” sales directly benefit the museum’s mission. The inventory consists of various historical books about McAllen and the region, books by local authors. It works by local artisans and “Everything McAllen” such as tee shirts, caps, magnets, postcards, candles, and so much more. 

The museum’s annual fundraiser, “Chuckwagon Dinner,” established in 2006, is a tremendous success. The partnership with the Costilla’s Ltd group and Macaroni Grill is a tremendous asset to the museum’s mission. 

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MHC also underwent a major renovation at the south end of the building, which was completed in early 2020. This project resulted in expanded gallery space, new restroom facilities, and a meeting room. The entrances to the remodeled areas were enhanced by the gorgeous tile work murals commissioned by the museum to our local artist and supporter, Yolanda ”Yoli” Cantu. Numerous improvements have been possible with the support of the City of McAllen, and the museum is honored to be a steward of this historic facility.

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 934 postcard called “Greetings from McAllen” was commissioned by local artist and muralist Lupe Hernandez. The mural and park grand opening were held in April 2022 with many city leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, and numerous supporters on hand. Since then, the museum began hosting mini-festivals, concerts, and holiday activities in the park. This will continue to be an initiative to bring community members to our thriving downtown area. 

The MHC has also greatly supported 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 who visits the museum is gifted with 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 included Rick de Julio and Helen Snider of the McAllen Oldtimers Club. Sadly, they both passed away before the museum opened its doors, but they were dedicated board members, and the vision was set forth. Staff members include Joe Vidales- Curator, David Martinez, and Stephen Bravo. Nora Musule is the Museum Service Assistant, and Gabriel Elizondo is the Marketing and Social Media Manager. Key volunteers include Pikey Rodriguez, a sports consultant, and Leticia Rodriguez. 

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The board is deeply grateful to the City of McAllen for their constant encouragement and ongoing support. We are also extremely grateful to our partners and museum supporters in the community, Region, and State of Texas. Special thanks to title Sponsor, Vantage Ban; Gold Sponsor, City of McAllen; City of Palms Sponsors McAllen Chamber of Commerce, Rhodes Enterprises, Inc., and the Monitor. Also, to friends of McAllen Heritage Center, the Honorable Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez; Costillas LTD., Law Offices of John David Franz; Frost Bank and Kreidler Funeral Home.

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