By DAVID LOPEZ
After two years of negotiations, well-known exhibits of San Benito’s history and conjunto music will finally make their way to be on display at the 7,000 square foot museum on 250 E. Heywood Street.
On Tuesday, City commissioners approved an agreement with the Friends of the San Benito Cultural Heritage Museum, Inc. (comprised of the San Benito Historical Society and the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum), allowing the group free-range use of the Cultural Arts Facilities, including the Cultural Heritage Museum, the Cultural Arts Center, and the Plaza de San Benito in order to provide museum services to the community.
According to Cultural Arts Director Luis Contreras, the contract specifically states that the museums will provide a certain amount of activities per year in the form of exhibitions, programs, and/or tours.
Dr. Olivia Rivas, president of the Friends organization, said she and her organization are looking to move the history and conjunto music artifacts currently located at the Community Building next door to the Cultural Heritage Museum in the fall of 2020.
“The agreement says we have access to all the other buildings into the new facility, but primarily we will be moving the museum and gift shop into the new facility, but we are also going to share the space with the Cultural Arts Department. Somehow we will make it fit where we’ll still have space for rotating exhibits,” she said.
Negotiations between the groups were finished in November and December of last year, but the agreement was signed over two weeks ago. The renewable yearly contract runs through Sept. 31, 2020.
According to Rivas, some of Freddy Fender’s artifacts are being packed up and stored until picked up by the owners, including Fender’s motorcycle and Grammy Award. However, there are other Fender items that belong to the museum, which are reserved for a Freddy Fender section in the new museum.
“The idea of special collections and new exhibitions help meet our mission to preserve our local heritage, but it also provides new experiences for the viewer,” said Luis Contreras. “The idea was always to expand the program, to bring people to downtown San Benito.”
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2020 issue of the NEWS.