Instead, the chamber is exploring other options for the museum’s future, including the Williamson County Historical Commission, Williamson Museum, Old Settlers Museum and Stagecoach Inn.
Chamber President and CEO Jason Ball told Community Impact Newspaper that the decision to hand off the museum had been made in 2019 by the chamber board.
“Round Rock is not the same community it was 44 years ago, and the chamber is a very different program than it was in 1976,” a chamber statement reads. “Our mission is to work with businesses to increase economic vitality and opportunities for everyone in our community. We are not a visitor center, or a convention and visitors bureau—which is across the street.”
Ball said the week of Aug. 2 marked the completion of the process of packing artifacts of the home so that they can be stored and preserved properly, not so much marking a permanent closure of the museum, but the end to its time in operation with the chamber. In June, Round Rock residents who had items on display at the museum were asked to either pick them up or leave them to be packed and stored.
During its time with the museum, the chamber has made “thousands of dollars” worth of repairs and kept up with maintenance work for the property, including roof replacement, porch repair, paint, yard improvements and security systems, according to the chamber.
“Historic preservation is important to the Round Rock Chamber, our board of directors and to our community,” the chamber statement continues. “In our view, [the] best and most respectful thing to do is to align with groups and organizations that can provide the appropriate maintenance and care necessary, from professionals with training in historical preservation. The chamber team members are a highly capable and trained group of professionals—but they are not skilled in the maintenance, preservation and display of historical items.”
The Palm House Museum, named for its original owner, Andrew J. Palm, was previously located in the Palm Valley area a few miles north before being moved to its current address at 208 E. Main St., Round Rock.