On April 19, 1970, the Hidalgo County Historical Museum officially opened to the public with a grand ceremony. The following year, President of the Board Margaret H. McAllen organized a group of women volunteers to form the HCHM Guild which played an essential role in raising funds and assisting in day-to-day operations. The museum partnered with local school districts to bring students on tours and hosted early exhibits on the Hidalgo County cities of Weslaco, Mercedes, Hidalgo, and Mission.
In 1975, as its American Revolution Bicentennial project, the growing museum made plans to add a wing to the 1910 Jail’s north side. Construction started the following year and completed in 1977. That same year, the museum hired new Executive Director Xenia Francesca “Fran” Alger, bookkeeper Maria Luisa Garza, and Curator of Exhibits Tom A. Fort. Taking an original drawing of the Jail, the museum designed a new logo and looked for ways to broaden its impact on the community.
Presidents of the Board:
1971-1978: Margaret H. McAllen
1979: Margaret M. Looney
Photo taken February 2, 1975.
Photographs: Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives
Exhibit: Archivist Kelly Francis-Love; Archival Assistant Luna Galván; Archival Assistant Susie Mathews; Associate Education Officer Joseph Fox; Senior Historian Tom Fort; Development Officer Lynne Beeching; Chief Executive Officer Francisco Guajardo, Ph. D.; Programs and Events Officer René Ballesteros; Programs and Events Assistant Anna Garrigos-Hervert
Contributors: Communications Officer Pamela Morales de Hendricks, Communications Assistant Santiago Alanís, Communications Assistant José Antonio Peña, Cindy Us, Rachel Amaya, Adel Hussein, and Mark Trejo
Thanks to our Golden Partner, and first Corporate Donor, for generously supporting our 50th anniversary.