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Center for Rural Studies

Community-Based Planning - Crockett, Texas

In 1886, Mary Allen College became a beacon of hope in Crockett, Texas, a small rural community in East Texas. Educationally, it was an opportunity for fulfillment and was a way to obtain a better way of life. Architecturally, it was a building unlike any that had been seen by the inhabitants of the area and beyond. One hundred and twenty five years later, no other building overshadows this architecture. It is still ahead of its time. Throughout the years, the purpose of the College has been education. Today the hope is to continue with this dream, not only preserving the architecture and history for generations to come, but to educate with a museum of African American Art and History.

The rebirth of this institution could possibly provide an art and history museum as well as an interpretive center, house local artifacts of African Americans, writing and genealogy workshops as well as a library of local African American genealogy. Additionally, the dream includes carrying on the building’s original purpose: to educate, through a children’s learning center and possible technical or vocational classroom space. Economically, the restoration and reinvention would benefit the area but the most important aspect is that the facility would make visible, a facet of African American history which would continue to educate, inspire, and enrich lives.

The Mary Allen Museum of Art and History, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Crockett, Texas, established in 2000. Since that date, members of the organization have been working diligently and tirelessly to restore the Mary Allen College Building. In 2001, they purchased the property with the assistance of a grant from the Texas Historical Commission. As the proud owners of this great property, members of the non-profit meet monthly to discuss next steps in the restoration.

Most recently, in April, the organization partnered with the Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University to begin a Community-Based Planning Process that would assist them in this venture. During the planning process, Cheryl Hudec, Associate Director of the Center is facilitating formal discussion around the project, issues, and challenges and assisting the group and the community with the development of a written comprehensive plan to guide the restoration and produce the end product. Additionally, the Center has partnered with Vision Bridge Consulting, LLC to provide instruction to the group in seeking funding. Overall participants will use the skills, knowledge, resources, and tools acquired through the planning process to research, review, select, and apply for funding opportunities and implement the developed plan.

Pictured left is the brand new sign erected by the organization designating the sight as the "Future Home of Mary Allen Museum".


Visit the official website of the

Mary Allen Museum of African American Art and History, Inc.

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