Texas State History Museum
by: Bobby McDonald
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is one of Austin's newer attractions and features a wonderful experience for all ages. The mission of the museum is to engage the attendee in the constantly changing history of the State of Texas, and they certainly meet their mission with three levels of exhibits that trace the history of our state from prehistoric times until the current. From a giant display on the Buffalo Soldiers in Western Texas, to another on the Houston and Texas Railroad, and yet another on the Red River Conflicts of 1874 in the Texas Panhandle, the exhibits continue to one on historic Indian Chief Quannah Parker, to one on early Texas slave-made pottery, that I found extremely interesting.
From Colonial times when slavery was legal in Texas, to the Texas fight for Independence, to early churches and the religion principles that formed our state, the museum offers great information and a window into how we have evolved into the state we have become today.
Exhibits on windmills, the Civil Rights Movement, and hundreds of other historic events complete the Texas State History Museum. Currently, there is a special exhibit at the museum, entitled "Women in Texas." This special exhibit traces the history of our state through the eyes of the woman, as it begins with the pioneer woman, and the the items that she would have assembled to make the trip to Texas, with her husband and children. Additional information and artifacts accompany a section on the women who came to Texas as slaves, and then includes a section on the women who fought for equality and suffrage rights in the 1920's, including special note of Minnie Fisher Cunningham.
The women's exhibit also includes a section on "picking cotton" and shows the dreaded and fundamental task from the woman's point of view, as she cooked for the family, went to the field herself, and "made-do" with the meager monies her family received for the crop, once it was picked and sold. Another featured exhibit in the women's section is the history of nursing in the state of Texas and the many, many women who managed to make strides in our health care.
A featured section is also devoted to Carrie Marcus Neiman, who came to the state as the daughter of German-Jewish immigrants and made strides in developing the fashion of Texas, from her family's Dallas Neiman-Marcus Fashion Center.
As you can see, the Texas State History Museum has hours and hours of information and interesting exhibits to help you learn about the history of our state, from the oil fields, to the cattle ranches, to the business centers and space and technology centers of Texas.
For information on hours, special rates for children and groups, or other information, you may contact the Bullock Texas State History Museum, located at MLK Jr. Blvd. and 1800 Congress Avenue, in Austin, by calling (512)936-4689.
Make this one of your travel destinations, the next time you plan a trip to the State Capital!