This summer, submerge yourself in some historically and culturally rich Summer Nights at the Museum of South Texas History (MOSTHistory).
Provided by MOSTHistory in Edinburg, the 6th Annual Summer Nights at the Museum: A Family Adventure is an event for people of all ages. What began as a small production to attract more community members to the museum has evolved into one of the most unique takes on history in the Rio Grande Valley. In a night that bridges history, culture, and community, this three-part series embraces historical events particular to the South Texas region.
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Every Night
June 9, 2016 – Rio Grande Legacy: River Frontier
June 30, 2016 – Rio Grande Legacy: River Highway
July 14, 2016 – Rio Grande Legacy: River Crossroads
Summer Nights is included in the regular museum admission fees:
Students, Senior Citizens (62+), Active Military: $5
Children three years of age and under: FREE
Each night begins with a vivid puppet show inspired by one of the three featured galleries. Children can enjoy popcorn as they watch theatrical puppetry and then partake in a game of “Find Me If You Can,” which incorporates museum artifacts referenced in the puppet show.
On June 9, the first gallery of the signature exhibition Rio Grande Legacy: River Frontier, begins the three-night series with a look at Native American history. Re-enactors utilize drums and other percussion instruments to recreate ancient rhythms and beats. The interactive gallery includes other activities that highlight prehistory, early European exploration and the Spanish colonial era.
Summer Nights at the Museum continues its journey through history on June 30, with its second gallery, River Highway. The gallery explores the Mexican-American War and travels through time to the beginning of the 19th century, incorporating a steamboat and various aspects of the cotton and ranching industries. Viewers can try spinning cotton and enjoy musical entertainment by re-enactors on the steamboat.
The final gallery featured on July 14 is known as River Crossroads and takes attendees on a historical trip that begins in the early 20th century, offering gallery goers the opportunity to crank a Model-T Ford and indulge in activities reminiscent of their parents’ or grandparents’ experiences. The gallery explores farm irrigation, fruit packing, and thrifting and recycling during the WWII era. A fun spy game allows kids to decipher messages using a code wheel.
“Something that we try to do is get the parents involved. It’s not so much a night where the parents stand back and just let the kids play, we want to get the parents involved, too. And, what’s fun for us as staff too, is to see family learning going on,” said Curator of Collections Lisa Adam.
Every year, the event turns out approximately an average of 200 attendees per night and proves to be an exceptional night of fun for the entire family.
A Unique Volunteer Experience:
The success of this three-night production is greatly attributed to museum staff and volunteers.
“We could not put this thing on without our volunteers. Sometimes we have as many as 40 volunteers per night. Although our staff runs this, it’s a volunteer-based event and we appreciate our volunteers a lot,” said Development Officer Lynne Beeching.
What makes this volunteering experience unique is the knowledge volunteers walk away with. Many times, volunteers will have a special skill, including re-enacting, that helps make the event interactive for the little ones. Sometimes volunteers will learn about South Texas history while on the job. If the night features a matching game about Spanish Colonial Trade, volunteers get the opportunity to learn about that time period in the process of learning how to run the activity.
If you’re a history buff and are interested in volunteering for Summer Nights, call the Museum of South Texas History at 956-383-6911 to learn about the brief application process.
Summer Nights is bound to be a thrilling event; clear your calendars and engage in the most unique approach to experiencing South Texas history.
“It’s probably one of the most unique events in the Valley. It’s fun; it’s two hours of good quality family time. There’s just nothing bad about it!” said Beeching.