Mansfield ‘This Is Us’
Mansfield is rich in history, and history was meant to be shared.
A joint effort between the City of Mansfield Historic Preservation Office, Mansfield Public Library and Mansfield Historical Museum and Heritage Center invites folks to share their memories and favorite parts of the city’s storied legacy in “This is Us.”
“We were researching ideas and came across a similar program, ‘Tell Us Your Story’ that the City of College Station had developed,” Mansfield Historic Preservation Officer Art Wright said. “Their program focused on the experiences, not just the places and events, that shaped the lives of their citizens. We agreed that our citizens’ experiences were important to the city’s history and came up with the ‘This Is Us’ program for Mansfield.”
Histories can be dropped off, mailed or emailed
Participants in the program can send their memories and thoughts three different ways:
Drop off in person at the planning department at City Hall, the Mansfield Public Library or the Mansfield Historical Museum.
Send by mail or email to Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Mansfield Historical Museum at email@example.com.
Submit online through the city’s website www.mansfieldtexas.gov in three places, the historic preservation page, the museum’s page or the library’s page.
“Anytime a community can learn about its founding fathers, history and what was important before makes us better today,” Mansfield Mayor David Cook said. “It encourages people to talk to elderly relatives and others.”
Anyone can participate, whether they’ve lived in Mansfield their entire life or if they recently moved there, whether they are 80 or 8.
“I am a newcomer to Mansfield, having lived here for a year. I’m looking forward to submitting my own story to the project,” said Jessica Baber, manager of the Mansfield Historical Museum. “That is what is so great about this program, it doesn’t matter if someone has lived here for a week or 50 years. We want to capture the stories of any and everyone who has lived here, because in the years to come, we will all make up a part of Mansfield’s history.”
Stories, artifacts and photographs received will be shared in a variety of places. Those include social media, the city website, educational videos, in the museum, library, city hall and other facilities. The stories will be added to the city’s preservation collection and museum archives to allow research by future generations.
“We may also use the responses in future exhibits at the museum,” Wright said, adding there is no deadline for submissions.
Residents asked to share special memories
Even former residents are welcome to make submissions, Wright said.
“Personal histories and first-person accounts are an important part of recording history,” he said. “The stories that we collect now will be invaluable resources when future generations study this time period in Mansfield’s history.”
Cook, a lifelong resident of Mansfield, has his own special memories of growing up there.
“I remember driving with my parents to Don’s Pawn Shop to pick up VCR tapes,” he said. “Those are special times you never forget.”
The project is also something for folks to do while they deal with the social distancing aspects of coronavirus.
“While the project was conceived before the current health crisis began, we hope people will submit stories about their day-to-day lives during this unprecedented time,” Wright said.
Wright also noted a similar project, entitled “History at Home” was also just launched on the museum’s Facebook page. It encourages citizens to recreate a scene from a historic photo.
“To give our citizens something to do while they self-isolate at home, we are encouraging them to recreate a scene from a historic photo,” he said. “We’re hoping this spurs some interest in Mansfield’s history and makes people what to learn more.”