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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - November 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

HCHC Excited About New Resource
Houston County Courier - November 2008
By Sharron Randall
Staff Writer

Houston County Historical Commission welcomed representatives from Stephen F. Austin's Center for Regional Heritage Research Thursday, Nov. 20 at the McConnell Room, Crockett Bank during the HCHC's regular meeting.
Explaining about the newfound resource for members and guests was Dr. Perky Beisel, SFA professor, author, horse breeder and grant writer; Linda Reynolds, director of East Texas Research Center, Ralph W. Steen Library; Chay Runnels, MSAS Institute, and instructor of SFA's Department of Human Sciences and Chris Elzen, a graduate student who showed a video promoting the center.
Taking turns, the four informers from the center in Nacogdoches spoke to the audience about how it can assist county historical commissions by becoming a resource for researching a county's heritage and unique culture, and how Houston, Cherokee, and Shelby counties are on the "cutting edge" of discoveries.
HCHC members in attendance were Chairperson Maxine Moore and her husband Alton, Eliza Bishop, Fran and Cecil Miles, Mary Ann Weedman, Jim and Joleen Renfro, Marty Cash, treasurer, Mrs. Russell and her son, Alice Jones, secretary, Darden and Frances Welch and Roy Click Smith.  Guests were invited too.
According to the brochure and introduction from Dr. Beisel, the goal of the Center for Regional Heritage Research is to "blaze a trail that bridges the divides between history, recreation, geography, archaeology, heritage tourism, and interpretation in order to arrive at a destination of improved quality of life and economic development in East Texas."
Recreation is an integral part of healthy living, and the incorporation of heritage elements into trail makes walking or riding the trail not only a physical experience, but also an educational, social and emotional experience. Historical trails play double duty in providing a path to our heritage, which reminds us that we are all connected.
The traditional focus in archaeology has been to dig, record, and interpret artifacts and features of past human activity.
Mapping and monitoring major changes in our cultural and natural heritage, is often done through combining historical photographs, direct field measurement, and recent technology such as global positioning systems, satellite imagery and computerized geographic information systems.
Ms. Runnels explained that much of our ancient and early settlement history has been understood through the analysis and interpretation of written documents and historic artifacts.
 The more recent past is documented in images at sites and within the memories of our elders. It is imperative that these images, sites and memories of the more recent past be preserved in the same way as documents and artifacts from the distant past.
Heritage tourism can be defined as traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.
The center can generate a festival survey of who is coming to the various county events such as the Peanut Festival, Christmas in Crockett, or the Lovelady Lovefest, local or out-of-county, simply by asking for a zip code.
Furthermore, the center's free training, with GPS (Geographical Positioning System) is designed to be a resource for the region. Units will be offered to anyone interested by contacting Dr. Darrel McDonald: dmcdonald@sfasu.edu.
The results of center projects will be available to the public on SFA Steen Library's TIDES (Teaching Images Digital Experiences): tides.sfasu.edu or by contacting Susan Clarke: sclarke@sfasu.edu.
For more information on the Center for Regional Heritage Research visit the Web site: www2.sfasu.edu/HeritageCenter or contact the center resource coordinator, Dr. George Avery: averyg@sfasu.edu.




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