After a long career studying the Texas Rangers, expert and author Jody Ginn has taken on a new role at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, where he will raise funds for new exhibits and building space.
As the museum’s new director of development, Ginn will focus on networking with other Ranger-related organizations to complete exhibit expansions and updates.
The updates and expansions would mean more exhibit space covering past injustices, but also more emphasis on racial diversity within the organization that people sometimes gloss over, Ginn said.
“It’s a complex story, and it’s not all heroes,” Ginn said. “That’s what we want to do, is bring the museum into the modern age and provide an honest and inclusive narrative.”
He said it was his great-grandmother who sparked his initial interest in the complex story with stories of his little brother, a Texas Ranger who was sent to “clean up” a town in East Texas. and received a set of engraved pistols as a thank you. you for his work. Ginn was 20 when she died aged 96.
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Later, while working for the Hays County Constable’s office, he encountered his first Texas Ranger in the field. The reunion refreshed his memory of his family stories and he wanted to know more.
“Having a Ranger ancestor is a bit like Texas royalty,” Ginn said. “Everybody wants to believe they’re descended from a prince or a princess or a king or a queen, and in Texas it’s ‘I’m descended from a Texas Ranger.’ And being in law enforcement, I was skeptical.
The Ranger he had met, Tommy Ratliff, directed Ginn to the state archives of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, where he began his research and discovered that his relative, Dan Hines, was one of the first Rangers to work for Texas. Department of Public Security. This discovery set him on the path that led him to become the new director of development for the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum,
He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Texas State University in 2001, followed by a master’s degree in public history in 2008. For his Ph.D. in history, he attended the University of North Texas.
“During my PhD program, I was known as the Texas Ranger guy,” he said.
He said he was particularly fascinated by the Jim Crow era of Rangers. His 2019 book, “East Texas Troubles,” tells the story of a gang that terrorized black residents of San Augustine in 1935 until the Rangers intervened. Her great-great-uncle, Dan Hines, was among them.
Prior to joining the museum, he worked for the Former Texas Rangers Foundation as director of the Texas Rangers Heritage Center in Fredericksburg.
Ginn said he had worked with Texas Ranger Museum Director Byron Johnson on research projects in the past and was excited to work with his “motivated” staff again.
Ginn said for now he’s learning about the organization and the people who work there, but will soon begin traveling and networking with various Texas Rangers-related groups around the country. Then he will start getting their feedback on what they would like to see in the museum in the future and start developing a fundraising campaign and fundraising ahead of the Rangers Bicentenary next year.
A countdown to the Bicentennial kickoff that will take place Jan. 13 at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo can be found at texasranger2023.org. Waco City Deputy Manager Lisa Blackmon said DPS, the Waco Museum and the Texas Ranger Association Foundation are working together on the event.
“It will generate revenue and funds, and I think one of the signs outside will show the Waco Museum,” Blackmon said. “So it will be marketing for us across the state, and a really good way to leverage the 200th anniversary as he kicks off this fundraiser.”
She said that in the meantime, Ginn would also be responsible for developing a membership program and a donation program for museum guests.
For the bicentennial, the Ranger Museum will launch a mobile museum that will tour the state with living history presenters on board. The actors will work with Johnson and his team to find lines and props, come up with a narrative for presentations, and write scripts.
“They’re very passionate about history and showing people, especially kids, what life was like in those days,” Ginn said.