The Carnegie building houses three beautiful oil-on wood-paintings, by Texas artist James Swann, that were hung in the building in 1934. These muses, allegorical in nature, are of three classic female figures draped in Greek robes representing music, painting and art bearing the symbol of their field. The muse of music has a lyre, the muse of literature a scroll, and the muse of art, a paint brush and vase. Each muse is three by seven feet and is painted in oil on pressed wood with the background of plain gold leaf. The draperies are in grayed tones of green, yellow and blue. The only interrelating detail is a delicately traced, stylize tree whose branches extend through the three units. It is assumed that Mr. Swann chose the Greek theme because Sherman was known as the “Athens of Texas” for the reason that a number of colleges were in existence in Sherman at that time. The muses are the only examples of WPA art in Grayson County.
In 2005, the City of Sherman transferred ownership of the Carnegie Building and the museum collection to the Friends of the Red River Historical Museum. Since that time, the name has changed to the Sherman Museum. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees that meets monthly. The City of Sherman provides funding to support the mission of the museum and to assist in maintaining the collection of artifacts related to the history of Sherman and Grayson County.
In the late 1980’s, a second facility was acquired, a historic Church of Christ building situated next door to the Carnegie building, to be used for storage of the 50,000-plus objects in the collection. The most significant feature of the Church of Christ facility are the 48 original stained glass windows. Both buildings became a recorded Texas Historical Landmark in 1986 and, in 1990, the Carnegie building was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
We acquire, preserve, interpret and display items of enduring cultural, historical and educational value related to Grayson County and the local Red River area. The museum currently has more than 50,000 objects in the collection. Museum staff are currently involved with the computerization of the collection and have completed over 14,000 documents, 9,000 historic photographs and 800 books.
THE SHERMAN CULTURAL DISTRICT
In September 2018, the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) voted to designate Sherman as an official Texas Cultural District! Sherman celebrated its new status at a ceremony and reception on November 30, 2018, at the Sherman Municipal Ballroom in downtown Sherman. Dr. Gary Gibbs, executive director of TCA, presented a proclamation, and the event featured the Piner MIddle School Choir and remarks from civic leaders.
The Sherman Cultural District represents both a geographic area, encompassing cultural sites, restaurants, museums and theaters, and a partnership, comprising the many arts and cultural groups that call Sherman home. Our partners are dedicated to advocating for and promoting the arts and humanities that represent our community. The Cultural District Advisory Council is hosted by Austin College in cooperation with the City of Sherman. Read more about the process to achieve cultural district status in this article in the Herald Democrat. Questions or comments about this program?
Board of Trustees
Bea Herod Harmon
Walcott G. Black
Suzanne Johnson Cain
Janet Roy Hudson
We acquire, preserve, interpret and display items of enduring and evolving cultural, historical and educational value.
The Museum engages and educates our community through historical awareness, research, shared knowledge, and interaction with exhibits, programs and open dialogue. As guardians of the past, we connect the present and embrace the future.
The Sherman Historical Museum
The Red River Historical Museum