Historic Sites Honored for Preserving Texas History

The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission recognized local Friends groups that support Texas Historical Commission (THC)-administered historic sites with the second annual Friends Alliance Awards.

The Friends of Casa Navarro received the Civic Engagement award; the Friends of the Fulton Mansion received the Stewardship award; and the Friends of the Caddo Mounds received the Friend Raising Award.

Friends groups that support THC historic sites are independent or fiscally sponsored nonprofits and are volunteer-led by a group of interested citizens from the community. The groups support historic sites by providing fundraising assistance, serving as volunteers, and promoting sites to the public.

The Civic Engagement Award honors a Friends group for outstanding efforts in advocating to public entities for a historic site as a recognized community asset. This year, the Friends of Casa Navarro was awarded for their persistent advocacy for the site, ensuring that this small historic house is well positioned for continued recognition, and even greater prominence in its connection to the public while the area around the site is revitalized.

The Stewardship Award is presented to groups that have gone above and beyond in augmenting a site’s staff or budget through fundraising or volunteerism. The Friends of Fulton Mansion received the Stewardship Award for its dedication to the site in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, even while tending to the community and members’ personal properties that were severely impacted by the storm.

The Friendraising Award recognizes organizations that have made extraordinary efforts in organizing diverse community members for Friends group activities. The Friends of Caddo Mounds received this award for its work in organizing stakeholders that include the Caddo Nation, and for supporting the site after a devastating tornado destroyed the site.

The Friends Alliance Awards is a joint initiative between the Friends of the THC and the THC Historic Sites Division’s new Community Partnerships Program. The program provides consultation to THC-administered historic sites Friends groups across the state to help navigate formal agreements with the agency, coordinate board development and fundraising training, and provide strategic planning facilitation.

The Historic Sites Division coordinates the awards program, and a committee of the Friends of the THC selects the awardees and presents them with a commemorative plaque and $150 check for training. The awards were given at a ceremony Jan. 29 in Austin, at the Real Places 2020 historic preservation conference (realplaces.us).

The nomination period for the 2020 Friends Alliance Awards will begin in May and will be announced on the Friends of the THC’s website. For more information about the Friends of the THC, contact Executive Director Anjali Zutshi at 512-936-2241.