Museum Notes 1-27-2020

PDF Print
Home About UsGet Directions





Discover History At Canadian River Valley Pioneer Museum!

Museum Homepage Banner



I do this more than I really want to admit. I look into the past to find relevance in today, by scanning old newspapers. Many of the articles are rather mundane, but occasionally some stand out in a larger historical context. An article in the Canadian Record, dated January 29, 1920, announced that local enumerator W.L. Helton (later Hemphill County Judge 1930-1936) was notifying the public that he was ready to close his enumeration book and if anyone wanted to contact him, to do so immediately by calling him at No. 58. I really find this short little article fascinating. Enumerators are the people who are hired every decade to go house to house for the US Census. In 1920, the government wanted to know who you were, where you were living, who was living with you, what the relationship was between those living together (father, mother, son, daughter, boarder, etc.), if you owned or rented your home, were you male or female, and what was your color or race, age, and marital status (single, married, or widowed). The government also wanted to know your citizenship status, your education level (able to read and write), where your parents were born, what language your parents spoke, and if you could speak English. Finally, the government was interested in your occupation, if you were currently working, where you were working, and if you were an employer, a salary or wage worker, or working for yourself.

Every decade, the census forms changes. For example, in the 1930 US Census, the government wanted to know if the person served in the World War (1917-1918). That census helps tell the history of World War I. In 1940, the US Census asked 13 questions related to employment. The 1940 US Census helps capture the story of how the Great Depression in the 1930s affected everyday people.

Who knew that a boring, complicated, government long form could be so interesting? Historians use the censuses to help tell stories of the past. Sometimes, an old census is the only way to find individuals in the historic record. I honestly don’t know what I would do without these government records.

And, it’s that time again; the 2020 US Census is getting ready to start. I know this decade’s census has been debated, and even the US Supreme Court was forced to get involved. That’s part of what will make this census interesting years later. In 2120, some small town museum director will be looking at who was living in Canadian, what they did for a living, and how their existence in 2020 played a part in the larger history of the United States. Do your part for future historians, participate in the US Census.

Be sure to stop by and view the Canadian River Art Academy students’ work. Art work from all ages is on display, including art by 3 & 4 year olds to grown adults. This show will be displayed until February 20th.


The Museum Assistant, Elizabeth Escamilla, is doing a great job on our social media platforms. Google the River Valley Pioneer Museum and you will find current events, photographs, and items from our gift shop. Check us out!


Railroad HistoryRailroad HistoryMilitary HistoryMilitary In HistoryCanadian Texas HistoryCanadian HistoryAcademic History
Academic History


Shape5_BridgeofHope_facebook Shape5_BridgeofHope_twitter

You can now follow us on Facebook & Twitter!