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Exhibit to focus on middle class’ arrival

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Denton County Office of History and Culture officials will shed light on early families in the county with a new exhibit featuring personal artifacts ranging from clothing to furniture.

Opening March 6 at the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, the “Families of Denton County: Pioneers of the Emerging American Middle Class” exhibit will touch on the families that settled in Denton County in the mid- and late-19th century.

Officials hope the exhibit will encourage people in Denton or the county to donate items that can be put on exhibit, either in the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum or a satellite site, said museum director Peggy Riddle.

The exhibit was set to open Feb. 26 but was delayed a week because of conservation issues, Riddle said.

“A few of the pieces needed more restoration than previously thought,” she said. “We wanted another week to get things in tip-top shape before opening.”

The exhibit will spotlight a time in history that was a turning point for the nation, according to a museum news release. More families had disposable income, and houses became a source of pride and a reflection of the owners’ culture, civility and identity, officials stated.

Among the items from the homes and culture of the times in the exhibit are: a pair of high-top leather shoes for women once sold at the Russell Department Store locations in Pilot Point and Denton; pistols belonging to the county’s first sheriff in 1846; a World War II uniform belonging to the Villanueva family who came to Texas in the 1920s; and a blanket chest from the Wright family.

“We’re highlighting it as an example of what was probably a homemade piece made by a carpenter in the family who knew how to make furniture,” Riddle said.

She said museum officials are also bringing some older items out to display, as well as rotating the exhibits around to the museums and county buildings.

“We want to not just put them back in storage. We want to get them out and get them to other venues people frequent,” Riddle said.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is .


All Courthouse Museum exhibits are free and open to the public. The courthouse has handicapped parking and accessibility through the north entrance. The Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum is located in the historic Denton County Courthouse at 110 W. Hickory in Denton, TX.