The museum fills in the blanks I never learned growing up as a non-Texan, and left me with a lot of food for thought. History, it seems, is ironic.
How about these factoids:
- Mexico abolished slavery in 1829, only to have it reestablished when Texas became a country.
- In 1830, Mexico made it illegal for Americans to travel to Texas (which was then part of Mexico).
- The 1836 Texas Constitution made free blacks appeal to the legislature for permission to continue living in the country. The museum has a great display about successful and unsuccessful petitioners.
- Texas as a country was broke. Don’t let today’s Texans fool you. It was broke.
- In the Compromise of 1850, Texas gave up its claim to New Mexico in exchange for Federal debt relief. I wonder if the USA still holds some of these debts?
Insert political commentary as you wish, but isn’t history strange?
Of course, a Texas history museum needs a Texas-sized gift shop. If you need Texas flag potholders, Texas glassware, or Texas shaped cookie cutters, this is your place. And you can even buy a “come and take it” t-shirt featuring the historic flag. It would certainly be fun to wear through airport security.
The Bob Bullock State History Museum website tells you how to get there, current exhibits and showtimes, but it doesn’t have many online exhibits about Texas History, so if you want to experience it, you have to go in person.
For online exhibits, hit the Texas State Library website instead. Their exhibits include Indian Relations In Texas, Life in Civil War Texas, Presidents of the Republic of Texas, and African-American History in Texas. You can experience the history without the trip to Austin.
Couple a visit to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum with a movie on Austin’s only IMAX Theatre. And, it’s only a block or two to the Blanton Museum of Art and the University of Texas, two of Austin Texas’ top attractions.
www.thestoryoftexas.com – 1800 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas – at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in downtown Austin