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Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum unveils renovations

BEAUMONT — The Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum underwent a $215,000 renovation recently. The upgrades were shown off during a “reopening” event Monday.

Renovations featured a multi-television-screen display, which sits prominently in the center of the museum. The screens show looped images and clips of the Port Arthur native’s career in numerous sports.

On June 26, 1911, Zaharias was born in Port Arthur and moved to Beaumont when she was 4 years old. Zaharias played every sport available to girls in high school.

A multi-screen display of looping videos highlighting historical videos of Babe Zaharias’ athletic achievements. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 11-2-20

W.L. Pate, president of the Babe Zaharias Foundation, said the foundation raised close to $15,000 with the Babe Zaharias Open, which was played in Beaumont in September. Pate said the foundation also received a $50,000 grant from the Dishman family for the renovations.

“We are also going to go to the LPGA and USGA and other ones to see about more grants,” he said. “After the election, I’m going to get back with them. With the money that we have raised and the grant, our balance is $150,000. We made quite a dent.”

Pate said the renovations were the most expensive the museum had seen since it was created Nov. 27, 1976.

“The building is the same that we had then, but we’ve made some upgrades,” he said. “The screens show some classic pictures from her life and career.”

Babe Zaharias Foundation President W.L. Pate sits in front of a key to the city of Denver Zaharias was once presented, along with paintings of her. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 11-2-20

The museum also features an interactive display, where guests can push different buttons to see clips and learn more about certain sports Zaharias played.

The museum holds dozens of memorabilia items of Zaharias. Just like the Wonder Girl herself, the museum is not big but packs a wallop.

The site is dedicated to tell the story one of the greatest athletes in American sports history.

Pate said the next project for the museum is adding a parking lot on the east side of the building so people can exit the museum and get on Interstate 10 instead of having to go underneath the highway.

“When this was built, this wasn’t the way the interstate looked at the time,” he said laughing.

Pate said he did not have an immediate timeline for future projects.