SHMM (aka Sam Houston Republic of Texas Presidential Library)

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum has always been a special place, and that is one reason why the LEAP Ambassadors enjoy volunteering there. Not only does it help educate citizens on the life and times of Texas’s greatest hero, but it also offers wonderful hands-on demonstrations, intriguing art exhibits, and beautiful grounds, highlighted by the ever-popular duck pond. But now it has even more to offer: today marked the official opening of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum as an the official Sam Houston Republic of Texas Presidential Library.

Our job was to greet and direct people, and it’s a role we greatly enjoyed. We saw County Commissioners, former Mayors, former Regents, the University President (and a former President), SHSU Deans and Vice Presidents, members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, descendants of Sam Houston, and many other community and University leaders.

Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe with Houston’s Descendants (and a little Astros Pride!)

Volunteering is as educational as it is fulfilling.

Emcee of today’s event was the Museum’s former director, Mac Woodward.

Throughout the event, he highlighted important information, described the timeline for the evolution of the Museum as a Republic of Texas Presidential Library, and introduced key speakers, of which there were many!

First up was President White who, as Woodward noted, was probably the only person who has been the President of two Universities named for Tennessee Governors (Austin Peay in Tennessee and, of course, SHSU). President White’s comments were short, sweet, and eloquent, reminding us Sam Houston’s example to today’s leaders and today’s students.

James Haley, author of the definitive work on Sam Houston, also spoke and delivered lively and entertaining comments about the Texas leader.

Most important, he spoke to why Sam Houston is historically important and relevant to today’s world and, in fact, the future.

Haley was humorous and insightful, offering a glimpse into why his books are also intriguing and educational.

Curator of Education, Mikey Sproat, discussed the various manners in which the Library would highlight these collections, noting that a large emphasis would be on digital availability, providing world-wide access to the Library’s holdings.

Closing out the speaking portion of the event was Derrick Birdsall, newly appointed as the Museum’s Director.

Birdsall was brief, highlighting Houston’s status as a hero–not as a perfect man, but a hero nonetheless–and encouraging all guests and visitors to enjoy the Museum and its multi-faceted offerings.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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