The Rufus F. Hardin Museum has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Texas Preservation Trust Fund, a program of the Texas Historical Commission, to assist efforts in preserving the landmark.

But now, the tough work begins, said Hardin Museum board president Adelia Kirk.

“It’s a matching grant, and we have until July to raise the other $30,000,” Kirk said. “With the holidays coming up, and the end of the tax year ahead, it certainly would be nice if a major benefactor stepped forward and made this possible.”

If that doesn’t happen, Kirk said a series of fund-raisers will be held to reach the goal, with the major event to be the annual banquet next April. The exact date has not yet been set.

State Sen. Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay announced the state grant this week.

"I am proud to make this announcement to the Rufus F. Hardin Museum,” Fraser said. "This grant will assist this organization in its mission to preserve Brownwood's African-American history in the community.”

Kirk said former Hardin board president and former state commission member Willie Lee Gay of Houston was instrumental in writing the grant request approved for the museum.

“Willie Lee has extensive experience in that field, and she’s been extremely helpful,” Kirk said.

The museum has been holding its “Celebrate the Legends” banquet for nine years, and in April presented its first Willie Lee Gay Legends Award. It went to Brownwood businessman Draco Miller.

The commission selected 25 preservation projects from 123 applications to be recipients of the 2008 TPTF grant awards, totaling $515,000, Fraser said.

The Texas Legislature created the TPTF in an effort to preserve endangered historic buildings and significant archeological sites statewide. The TPTF is an interest-earning pool of public and private monies. The earned interest and designated gifts are distributed as matching grants. The program provides up to one-half of the total project costs for acquiring, planning and developing historic properties and sites.

"The financial support for historic properties provided through the Texas Preservation Trust Fund is not only contributing to the efforts of the Rufus F. Hardin Museum, but to the Texas economy as a whole, as heritage tourists and adjacent businesses are a direct result of investing in historic preservation,” Fraser said.