OUR TURN: Marble Falls museum deserves help saving city’s history

The noted Irish statesman Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

The value of those words, though uttered in the 18th century, still holds true today whether the scope is local, national or global.

Burke’s warning is why a recent entreaty for donations from the Falls on the Colorado Museum is important and deserves the public’s attention.

The museum, which many consider a prime source and repository for the history of Marble Falls and the region, is in need of financial assistance to continue its mission of preserving local records and documents.

Officials want to repair the exterior of the Granite Building where the museum is housed, 2001 Broadway, and create a photo archive system that protects delicate negatives.

The cost is not inexpensive; however, the end result will benefit the entire community and create an important legacy for the future.

The museum has already turned to the city for help, asking for $25,000 in hotel-motel tax occupancy funds. However,  those disbursements are on hold for now.

The city wants the museum to show how the latter’s efforts puts “heads in beds” — in other words, how the museum’s programs help increase tourist traffic and occupancy at local inns. The tax is paid by guests at hotels and motels.

While city officials are within their rights to request such data, they only need to look at the recent Founders Day celebration to see that events sponsored by the museum do bring visitors to town.

In the meantime, that doesn’t mean the public can’t help.

Here’s why the museum needs your assistance:

The Granite Building, built in 1891 and owned by the Marble Falls Independent School District, has significant drafts and temperature changes — especially during summer heat — that could affect the more than 300,000 film negatives and historical documents stored there. The shifting temperature and humidity levels will eventually take their toll on these irreplaceable records.

The start-up cost for an archival system to preserve the negatives is $15,000.

In addition, the building — though structurally solid —  needs repairs to better control the interior climate. That improvement means doing some work on the exterior.

Officials estimated it would take $10,000 to repair the outside flaws.

Museum officials believe the repairs could breathe an additional 50 or even 100 years of life into the venerable building.

Saving the museum means saving local history.

Additional financial support will help to preserve an important community legacy.

If the history of Marble Falls can’t be preserved, then how will future generations be able to appreciate the achievements of their predecessors here in the Highland Lakes?

How will they know what happened before, if there’s no place to store and preserve the relics of days gone by?

While the city may have questions about funding the preservation of the history of Marble Falls, members of the community — who know that remembering the past helps shape the future — should give their support to the Falls on the Colorado Museum.


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