A bill which would have management of the Star of the Republic Museum change hands from Blinn College to the state has unanimously passed the Texas Senate.
Senate Bill 2309, filed by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), would place the museum under management of the Texas Historical Commission (THC). A companion bill, House Bill 4446, was filed by Representative Ben Leman (R-Anderson). Kolkhorst’s bill will now head to the House for consideration.
Blinn has operated the museum, located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, since its opening in 1970.
Each of the bills state that, beginning January 1st of next year, the THC would take over jurisdiction of the museum and its contents. The commission would be responsible for the “preservation, maintenance, and operation” of the museum.
Blinn would still maintain ownership of the museum, the land it is located on, and the artifacts in the museum.
Senator Kolkhorst said the legislation would secure Blinn a financial and creative partner to help with much-needed improvements.
The measure has garnered the support of several officials, including Blinn Board Chair Charles Moser and Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association President Cyndee Smith. Moser submitted a letter to Kolkhorst earlier this month expressing his approval of the bill, while Kolkhorst said Smith visited Austin Wednesday to endorse the bill on behalf of the state park association.
Earlier this month, Kolkhorst passed legislation through the Senate to ensure additional funding for state and local parks, along with state historic sites. Senate Joint Resolution 24 and Senate Bill 26 intend to devote funds already collected under the sporting goods sales tax entirely to fund the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.