Street Address
125 South College
Tyler, TX 75702
Mailing Address
125 South College
Tyler, TX 75702
Museum & Archives
Tuesday - Saturday10 AM - 4 PM
Sam Kidd, Office Manager
phone: 903-592-5993


The Society operates a museum called the Carnegie History Center, which is located in the former Carnegie Public Library building in downtown Tyler. Permanent exhibits include life-size dioramas with Smith County history topics ranging from Caddo Indians to the Twentieth Century. Other items from the Society's collections are showcased in revolving, temporary exhibits. Publications, photographs, and maps are available for purchase at the museum, as well.

Also located in the Carnegie History Center is the Society's archival library containing historical artifacts of Smith County, including newspapers, city directories, school records, photographs, maps, historical papers, rare books and much more. The archives are open to the public for research with volunteer staff on duty.

The Society is also the official caretaker of Camp Ford Historic Park. This Civil War history park is located near Tyler on the original site of the largest Confederate prisoner camp west of the Mississippi River. It contains a kiosk, paved trail, interpretive signage, a cabin reconstruction and plenty of parking. An annual on-site reenactment is held each spring by outside organizations.

The Smith County Historical Society preserves local history through these and many more functions. Membership is open to all persons and organizations interested in local history. Please join us in sharing our wonderful history!


Founded in 1959 to collect and preserve Smith County history, the Society moved to the historic 1904 Carnegie library building with Carnegie History Center (Museum) in 1985. In 1995, the Smith County Historical Society Museum and Archives merged with the History Center. The Society President serves as Smith County Historical Commission's chairman for historical markers. The Society publishes The Chronicles of Smith County, Texas annually.

Artifacts Collections

The permanent collection includes artifacts form the Caddo Indians, Early Settlers, Republic Era (1836-1845), Civil War (Camp Ford - POW camp 1863), and from the Reconstruction Era to the 1940's.

Research Collections

Maps (city and county), books, newspapers, photographs, family/personal papers, scrapbooks, city directories, school albums; available for research.

Educational Programs

Area schools bus children to the museum for guided tours. Society members speak to clubs and organizations upon request. We also maintain an intern program with the University of Texas at Tyler.


    Monthly newsletter ; Chronicles of Smith County; The History of Smith County, Texas-Born in Dixie