The Story of Texas at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
Not only is Texas known for its mundane, run of the mill activity, it is also a state with a varied history and similar future. From long before the U.S. annexed it into the union to today and into the years to come, the story of Texas offers anyone willing to learn an interesting and enlightening tale. In fact, the state’s history is so interesting that one museum has devoted its entire mission to informing the residents and visitors of Texas of it: The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (TSHM).
Located in downtown Austin, the TSHM has three floors of interactive exhibits. On the first floor is, naturally, the first story, from when the European settlers first met and interacted with the Native Americans who lived there. Through the words of the settlers and the artifacts since discovered, visitors are shown what occurred in those first years and taught how the Spanish, French and Native Americans were able to survive as three peoples in one land.
On the second floor, the story of how Texas became Texas and formed its Lone Star identity is revealed. Key historical players including Stephen F. Austin, Juan Seguin, Same Houston and Mirabeau Lamar are depicted as viewers learn of the Texas Revolution, the Civil War and the celebrations that have since followed both those bloody battles.
The third floor, known as Creating Opportunity, gives a different perspective on history: it shows how the people of Texas in the past into today have used evolving technology and greater awareness to preserve the Lone Star’s land. Texas’ role in exploring space, medicine and technology is also portrayed.
In addition to the exhibits, the museum has several theaters, playing several different types of shows. The Star of Destiny is the feature presentation in the Spirit Theatre. The film takes viewers through the history of Texas, narrated by the character Sam Houston. The audience truly becomes a part of the story as the seats shake with monumental natural disasters. Additionally, light and sound effects enable them to forget they are simply watching a film as they are drawn into the sights and sounds of history. The movie plays twice an hour. When it is not on screen, lecturers, storytellers and special topic programs can be seen there. The museum also houses a popular IMAX theatre.
All of these amazing features of the museum are owed to its founder, Bob Bullock. The 38th Lieutenant Governor, Bullock served from January 1991 to January 1999, when he retired from public office. He is considered one of the best Texas political leaders and has been compared to such greats as Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and President Lyndon Johnson. Bullock planned and created the museum in 1996 and 1997, to make up for the state’s lack of state museum.
“As great as this state is — the greatest in the Union, in my opinion — we have no state museum in our state capital, a magnificent museum where our history can be properly displayed . . . Texas has gone too long without one,” he is quoted as saying on the museum’s Web site.
But that is no longer true, as Bullock’s dream has been a reality for many years now, and visitors are able to learn of one state’s history in one building. For more information on TSHM, visit thestoryoftexas.com.
About the Author:
Joe Cline writes articles for Austin new home builders. Other articles written by the author related to Austin real estate and Austin Remax can be found on the net.