The Grapevine Historical Society and the city are proud of Grapevine’s past, and now both are excited about sharing that history with others — for free.
On Saturday, the Grapevine Historical Museum — which previously was located inside the Cotton Belt Depot — opened an expanded location in the Ted R. Ware Plaza in the Settlement to City Museum Complex in downtown Grapevine.
The new site features a facade that honors the original Grapevine Ice Company — a long-defunct commercially owned business.
At the dedication, Mayor William D. Tate told supporters, “Today is more than a day of celebration. It’s a day of community pride.
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The new museum, the mayor said, is a testament “to those who have lived in and loved this community.”
The museum’s layout takes visitors on a journey highlighting the cultural and family life of early Grapevine residents in areas such as agriculture, industry, family life and children. Exhibits include a pump organ from the 1870s, three beautifully restored wedding gowns from different eras, childhood playtime memories on the porch of the playhouse and a trip through grandma’s attic.
Storyboards detail the history of the exhibits, giving visitors a sense of daily life activities for Grapevine residents.
An exhibit features Tate detailing the story of growing up in Grapevine, the building of Lake Grapevine and the development of the city.
The Saturday event featured the dedication of the 1907 Grapevine Fire Bell by the Grapevine Fire Department, at the permanent display near the entrance to the museum. The bell signifies the days when the town’s volunteer Bucket Brigade was called into action.
Following the dedication ceremony and remarks by Tate, a ribbon cutting officially opened the historical museum to the public. The museum’s flagpole also was dedicated.
Joe Ann Standlee, president of the Grapevine Historical Society, lauded the new museum, saying that countless volunteers, city staff and the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau dedicated more than three years to restoring artifacts, detailing histories and developing this new facility, which tells the story of life in Grapevine.
“We are thrilled to share the story of the Grape Vine Prairie through these interactive exhibits and displays for generations to come,” she said.
In preparation for the new museum, the Grapevine Historical Society partnered with the Captain Molly Corbin Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), a national organization founded in 1890 with the mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism.
A team of 14 volunteers from the NSDAR chapter, in conjunction with the Grapevine Historical Society, performed more than 3,000 volunteer hours of curatorial cleaning, cataloging and preservation of the museum’s artifacts.
The Corbin Chapter, which is based in Grapevine, was awarded the NSDAR’s 2014 Historic Preservation Project Award, A Gift of Service to a Community to Save a Treasured Museum.
In addition to partnering with the NSDAR, the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Grapevine Historical Society contracted with Museum Arts of Dallas for the design and interior layout of the 3,000-square-foot museum at a cost of $325,000.
The museum features 2,000 square feet of exhibit space and 1,000 square feet of space dedicated to preservation and curatorial work, as well as storage space for artifacts.
The expanded museum offers more than three times the space at the museum’s previous location.
Dedicated to preserving Grapevine’s history, the Grapevine Historical Society meets monthly and maintains a website that includes a timeline of the city’s history, a touring map of the historical structures in town and links on genealogy.
The group has published three books: “The Grapevine Area History Book,” which includes facts about the residents of the Grapevine area, as well as old photographs and archives, “Grapevine's Most Unforgettable Characters,” highlighting family essays and photographs, and “Images of America: Grapevine,” a pictorial book about Grapevine.
For information about the Grapevine Historical Society, visit www.GrapevineHistory.org.