The Smith County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1959 by individuals and business firms dedicated to discovering, collecting and preserving data, records and other items relating to the history of Smith County, Texas. They joined together in a rewarding effort to preserve the fascinating stories of Smith County's past in the many areas of historical preservation pursued by the Society.
The Society holds monthly meetings, which include a guest speaker for a Smith County history topic. The meetings are always interesting and open to the public. The Society also prints a monthly newsletter and publishes the award-winning Chronicles of Smith County, Texas.
The Society operates a museum called the Carnegie History Center, which is located in the former Carnegie Public Library building in downtown Tyler. Permanent exhibits include life-size dioramas with Smith County history topics ranging from Caddo Indians to the Twentieth Century. Other items from the Society's collections are showcased in revolving, temporary exhibits. Publications, photographs, and maps are available for purchase at the museum, as well.
Also located in the Carnegie History Center is the Society's archival library containing historical artifacts of Smith County, including newspapers, city directories, school records, photographs, maps, historical papers, rare books and much more. The archives are open to the public for research with volunteer staff on duty.
Both the museum and archives are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Society is also the official caretaker of Camp Ford Historic Park. This Civil War history park is located near Tyler on the original site of the largest Confederate prisoner camp west of the Mississippi River. It contains a kiosk, paved trail, interpretive signage, a cabin reconstruction and plenty of parking. An annual on-site reenactment is held each spring by outside organizations.
The Smith County Historical Society preserves local history through these and many more functions. Membership is open to all persons and organizations interested in local history. Please join us in sharing our wonderful history!
If you have any questions about the Society, please e-mail us!
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