Claudine Hogan of Bridge City sorts through a complexity of paper work she shuttles between home and work – to establish something new and enduring for her community. Her goal, in fact, is an historic endeavor.

Hogan, a director for the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, chairs the committee that is working to attain the non-profit status of the Bridge City Historical Museum.

“It’s tedious work. I make a lot of phone calls,” Hogan says, “We’re taking it one step at a time and following procedure.”

The process is complicated. For now Hogan is focused on submitting the initial documentation required by the state and federal government. “Then we’ll take it from there,” she says.

The non-profit status will open the door to grants and funding available for historic preservation and education in the Bridge City area. The museum is currently a collection of local artifacts and memorabilia housed within areas of the chamber office. 

The request to form the museum as a nonprofit is filed with the Internal Revenue Service. There are a variety of designations for non-profit organizations. According to Hogan, nonprofit corporations which have achieved 501 (c) 3 status can offer their donors the opportunity to deduct their contributions from their federal tax.

The Bridge City Historical Museum and the Bridge City Chamber are both housed in one of Bridge City’s oldest remaining buildings — the “Prairie View Teacherage” built around 1920. The chamber moved it from the grounds of Hatton Elementary to its permanent location at 150 Roundbunch Road in 1995. 

Currently, since both Hurricane Rita in 2005, and Hurricane Ike last year, some of the museum collection has been boxed and stored. It hasn’t been inventoried or cataloged in many years. Key memorabilia and artifacts, however, are still contained within the Prairie View Teacherage building.

The chamber foresees a time when an additional building on the chamber grounds may house exhibits and displays and conduct tours for educational and tourism purposes. 

Grants, large and small, are available through several state and national organizations. The Texas Historical Commission offers grant funds to small history museums for collections-related preservation and historic conservation projects.