You’ve heard the phrase: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This was true for the Museum of South Texas History.  

On Sept. 9, 2020 museum CEO Francisco Guajardo received a phone call from Elva M. Cerda, the managing director at the McAllen Heritage Center – museum of history & culture. Cerda explained to Guajardo that a McAllen business owner found old Life magazines, a collection of Texas Southmost College yearbooks and other historical documents in the commercial trash bin. Most of these items were from the Brownsville area. The owner told Elva he was willing to place his truck in front of the dumpster until someone could get over there as the trash pick-up was set for the next day.

“Even though we have some regional items, I really thought these items were more well suited for our mother museum,” Cerda said. “I reached out to Francisco and within the hour the items were picked up.” 

Museum archivist Kelly Francis-Love received word from Guajardo about the newly retrieved historical items. She cleaned and processed the items at the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives. The items included: Eight yearbooks from Texas Southmost College (1950s-1970s), a 1966 TSC commencement program, a letter and book of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution from Congressman Joe Kilgore to an unidentified TSC graduate, and a copy of the Brownsville Herald newspaper dated June 1967 which reported on the Vietnam War.  

“This is a cool story to share,” Francis-Love said. “It shows how two local organizations can work with each other for the better good—and a great way to remind others to think twice about throwing away ‘trash.’”  

These historical items are to be preserved in the museum’s collections and are now a great resource for future research and exhibit materials. 

For more information about donating to the museum’s archives, please contact the Museum of South Texas History at 956-383-6911 or send an email to kfrancis-love@mosthistory.org. You can also reach the McAllen Heritage Center – museum of history & Culture at 956-687-1904.