About featured image: Macie Hartzog accepts sponsorship check from Von-Wil Ford owner Jeanne Vonderau.
Macie Hartzog began visiting the 20th Century Museum at the age of 9. Intrigued by the contents and owners, Art and Sharon Schulze, she volunteered her time to assist the museum with decorating.
“I came to know the owners, the Schulze’s, through visiting the museum from the age of 9,” Hartzog told The County Gin. “Over the years my family and I had become close with both Mr. and Mrs. Schulze, and began helping where we could with the museum.
“One of my fondest memories associated with the museum is the tradition my family started of helping Mrs. Schulze decorate the museum every year for Christmas. Over time, the Schulze’s had become like an extra set of grandparents to me, and the technology museum grew to feel almost as if it were my second home.”
It was in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the passing of Art Schulze that inspired Hartzog to assist Sharon Schulze in the reopening of the museum.
“While I may not be in Wharton much longer to enjoy the museum myself, my hope is that, through this fundraiser other people may be able to similarly experience the magic of the 20th Century Technology Museum and the kindness of its owner,” she said.
Once the high school senior knew she wanted to organize a fundraiser for the museum, she was faced with developing a plan that would make a big impact, as well as working around restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A simple bake sale wouldn’t cut it; I needed something big to spread the word about the museum,” Hartzog told The Gin. “Most people don’t even know of the museum’s existence, so I developed the mindset of the flashier, the better.
“The more I could get people excited and involved with the event, the more people who would be interested in supporting them when they reopen. With the current pandemic going on as well, the fundraiser needed to be something that the community could partake in safely while adhering social distancing guidelines.”
After researching other fundraising ideas that fell short, Hartzog was struck with the idea of a drive-in movie.
“It was big, it was exciting,” she said. “It was something the community had never done before, it was safe for everyone and it even fell in line with the 20th century theme of the museum. What better way to experience 20th century technology than watching a drive-in movie — one of the biggest phenomena of the 20th century?”
The drive-in will be at the Eddie Joseph Memorial parking lot on Saturday, Oct. 24. Attendees will be treated to a film and can pick up concessions from participating food trucks.
“While I, personally, am only a casual fan of the series, once I realized that the movie was an option to play at the event, it felt like a no-brainer,” Hartzog told The Gin. “I wanted to show a film that could attract a wide audience, appeal to all ages, and fit the theme of the 20th century. With this movie, I was able to accomplish it all.”
Hartzog explained the evening’s itinerary, “The gates will open at 6 p.m. and we will be scanning each pre-purchased ticket at arrival. Once they are checked in, they will be directed by staff to an appropriate parking space.
“Attendees will then be able to either enjoy food from the food trucks participating in the event or wait for the movie to start while seated in their car. We are asking everyone to arrive by 7 p.m. for a smooth check-in, and the movie will start at 7:30 p.m.
“The film will be shown on a 40’x20’ inflatable screen, and sound will be provided through an FM transmitter so people can tune into the designated station from within their cars.”
Hartzog hopes this event will bring the community together, as well as strike interest in the tech museum itself.
“The museum is important to me for many reasons,” she said. “Besides the personal ties I have with the owner, I think that the museum caters to everyone. Adults experience a trip of nostalgia, seeing the artifacts they recall from their past, while children bask in wonder and curiosity, learning about the strange-looking technology that is new to them.
“In these modern times, most children take advantage of the complex technology that surrounds them, but are not able to interact with the technology that gave rise to the devices they use today. As a young child myself, when I first visited the 20th Century Technology Museum, I had never seen most of the items that were on display, let alone been able to interact with them and learn how they worked.
“I believe the museum is a great local, accessible and free-of-charge way for children to learn about these key parts of our past. Seeing as how we are limited in the ways of activities in Wharton, I also believe that the museum serves as a great and unique attraction to not only bring people into our town but also give residents something to do in their spare time.”
For more information about this event and to purchase tickets, visit the Drive-In Movie Fundraiser event page.
If you would like to learn more about the 20th Century Technology Museum, visit https://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyTechMuseum.
This event was made possible by sponsors: Wharton Economic Development Corporation; Von-Wil Ford; The First State Bank; Fort Bend Skin Cancer Center; K-Mana, LLC.; Roberson Air Conditioning; Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, Paige Faterkowski – Agent; Metcalfe Design Co.; InsuranceNet; Prosperity Bank; Wharton Feed and Supply; Hinze’s Bar-B-Que; along with individual sponsors: Bob and Frances Ziegenhals; and Ron and Sandy Sanders.