POSTED: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 9:56am
UPDATED: Monday, May 17, 2010 - 2:37am
The four downtown Tyler museums will host a free Holiday Open House from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight. The Goodman-LeGrand Museum, the Cotton Belt Depot, Discovery Science Place and Smith County Historical Society will open their doors to the public to share their historic, educational and information sites. A new addition to this year’s event will be an open house at Gallery Main Street, the new art gallery managed by the City of Tyler Main Street Department.
Each museum will feature its own entertainment and special features. Among the highlights:
• The 1859 Goodman-LeGrand Museum, 624 N. Broadway, is Tyler’s first building to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility will be celebrating a Victorian Christmas. Tours of the 150-year-old landmark will be available. “Christmas Belles” will greet visitors and costumed re-enactors will portray the Goodman family and their friends. Violins and harps will play in the formal parlor, and children will sing traditional Christmas songs. Treats inspired by the Victorian era will be available. Horse-and-buggy rides will begin at the Goodman as well.
• The Smith County Historical Society, 125 S. College, will feature several special displays. “Old Toys of Christmas” will bring back memories for visitors. All of the toys on display date back to the 1950s or earlier and include early examples from the Goodman family. A book-signing featuring author Robert Reed will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reed is author of the popular “Images of America: Tyler” and “Postcard History: Tyler” books, which are available at the site. Volunteers will be on hand to serve refreshments and offer tours of the building, which is also included in the National Register of Historic Places.
• At the Cotton Belt Depot, 210 E. Oakwood, visitors will enjoy "Christmas Trains at the Depot" at the restored train depot, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rail aficionados, in costume, will be on hand to run miniature train lines, which will be set in winter scenes.
• Discovery Science Place, 308 N. Broadway, will celebrate the opening of its newest display, “Dig Pit,” during the Open House hours. Young visitors and their families will have the opportunity to enter the facility free and experience the newest feature of the award-winning facility. Discovery’s gift shop will also be open for last-minute shoppers.
• Gallery Main Street at 110 W. Erwin will celebrate its first Christmas by joining the open house. The gallery currently features artwork by members of the Downtown Tyler Arts Coalition’s Fine Arts Jury. The public is invited to view the artwork and tour the new downtown revitalization facility. This is also a great location to purchase gifts for the holidays.
Those who visit all open house sites and get a visitor’s pass punched at each location will be eligible for a drawing for a giant gift basket worth more than $300.
For more information, visit www.heartoftyler.com  or call (903) 593-6905.