The Tomball Museum Center has been operating since the early 1960s under the Spring Creek County Historical Association. But since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the museum center has faced financial burdens due to operations being halted, Museum Director Mary McCoy said in an interview.
The museum is located at 510 N. Pine St., Tomball, and consists of 14 buildings, including a gazebo and a barn, with most of the buildings dating back to the mid- or late-1800s, McCoy said. Guests can schedule tours for $5, and group tours are available by reservation.
The association has applied for grants from the state to no avail, McCoy said. However, the city of Tomball has helped out with grants through its hotel occupancy tax, or HOT, revenue funds.
During an Aug. 1 budget workshop for the city of Tomball, City Manager David Esquivel said the city's Tourism Advisory Committee had approved $35,000 from HOT revenue to go to the Spring Creek County Historical Association, including $30,000 for general operations and an additional $5,000 grant this year to help out with a car social the nonprofit hopes to do. Esquivel said the grant funds will come before City Council for approval in the coming weeks as the city votes on its proposed fiscal year 2022-23 budget.
To further help alleviate financial concerns, McCoy said the historical association is always looking for volunteers. As the historical association works to recover from the pandemic, the museum center’s website was recently redesigned by a volunteer website designer. Other areas where McCoy said volunteers are needed include delivering tours, cleaning the buildings and decorating the buildings on property for an upcoming holiday or season.
Aside from volunteering, patrons can also sign up for a membership with a yearly contribution. McCoy also said the center allows for photographers to use the property for photoshoots with a monetary donation.
“People don’t realize the museum is not a public park, it’s a private museum,” McCoy said.
The museum center provides for public schools and homeschool groups to book a tour at no cost. Since the start of the pandemic, the association has not experienced as many school tours as it did previously, McCoy said; however, she said the association hopes interest peaks for more school tours.
“A lot of it has to do with the safety of the kids,” McCoy said. “We used to have six to eight tours of school kids every spring and summer. ... Now we probably only get two or three every year.”
Learn more or contact the historical association here.