The Bullock Texas State History Museum

The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, opened in 2011 and has hosted over 7 million visitors since its doors opened. The museum celebrates the history and culturally icons of Texas. The Texas State History Museum Foundation supports all financial aspect of the museum. The museum is named after Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock who spearheaded the creation of the museum to educate the public on the history of the great state of Texas and preserve artifacts for generations to come.

Although the Governor Bullock retired from political life prior to the museum opening, he is remembered for his bipartisanship and work towards preserving the arts and history in the state. Artifacts from his campaigns can be viewed in the museum as a reflection of the great political history of Texas. The museum includes three floors of galleries, and two theaters including an IMAX movie theater, and special temporary exhibits that rotate throughout each year. There are also several public and community education programs and special events that visitors are encouraged to take part in. Photo: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

»Texas History Galleries

Texas History Galleries

The purpose of The Bullock is to educate and preserve the history and story of the great state of Texas. There are three floors that represent different periods in Texas history and art. There are over 700 original artifacts and works in the permanent exhibit. New artifacts are continually added which means that every time you visit the museum, there is usually something new that can be seen.

The Second-Floor Gallery displays artifacts from 1821 through 1936 and explores history through not only artifacts, but film and manuscripts as well. Visitors will learn about the important characters that shaped the history of Texas through revolution, Civil War, immigration, economics and The Great Depression when the 100th birthday of the state was marked. The famous Alamo is a feature part of this exhibit and there are several displays narrated by historical figures.

Visitors go event by event through the timeline of Texas history and experience how African Americans lived in Texas before and after the annexation, how the state transitioned from being an independent territory to the 28th state and the culture of the Comanche Native Americans. The Centennial Theater shows historic footage of the 1936 exposition that showcased Texas’ bold identity to western culture.

The Third-Floor Gallery is a dedication to the emergence of Texas as a state and its contribution to Arts and the national economy. Oil industry and Tejano farming and cattle ranching, and through the civil rights era to modern day Texas. There are also many artifacts relating to World War II including an advanced flight trainer plane. Famous Texas musicians such as Buddy Holly, Lydia Mendoza, and T. Bone Walker are all honored in this exhibit as well. There are also NASA exhibits that allow visitors to experience a model of a mission control console. Photo: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

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»La Bell: The Ship That Changed History

La Bell: The Ship That Changed History

The entire first floor of The Bullock is dedicated to the French ship La Bell, that was shipwrecked in 1686 in the Matagorda Bay. In 1995, a team of anthropologists and archaeologists discovered the wreckage and began a decades long process of excavating and bringing the ship and her contents out of the depths. Over 1.6 million artifacts including the entire hull of the ship was recovered from the site.

The Artifacts: Excavated Stories is an exhibit inside the La Bell first floor. This exhibit focuses on the artifacts inside the ship that told the stories of the colonists and French traders that were aboard the ship and coming to America at the time. Jewelry, beads, knives, and clothing are all on display in this section of the exhibition. There are also items that tell the story of domestic everyday life for the French who were colonizing in Texas looking for silver mines. Pots, plates, ladles, and even weaponry such as muskets can also be viewed here.

Visitors can also watch a film on La Bell in the Texas Spirit theater. The short film Shipwrecked is narrated by the son of one of the survivors of La Salle’s ill-fated expedition that La Bell was a part of. Photo: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

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»Special Exhibitions

Special Exhibitions

The Bullock features many special exhibitions throughout the year that relate to the history of Texas or the history of The United States. Others relate to significant world history events that have affected the masses worldwide.

American Flags will run through January 2017 and features the history and symbolism of the American flag. The exhibition consists of textiles, artworks and other memorabilia related to the flag. There are also 25 flags from important moments in history including a 200-year old flag from the early revolutionary period and may be one of the first flags with 13 stars ever made. The only 14-star flag that is known to exist is also an integral part of this display.

State of Deception looks at Nazi propaganda from the second World War. This exhibit looks at the way Nazi’s used media propaganda to further their agenda and brain wash the people of Germany. Visitors to this exhibit can see listen to radio broadcasts, see toys and posters that all aim to guide Germans into supporting war and a unified Aryan race.

There is a small exhibit in this exhibit that relates how Texas saw and responded to what was happening in Germany that lead into World War II. On the Texas Homefront, explores Texas internment Camps during World War II, cartoonist, and the Texans that took part in the mission to liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp. The exhibit ends with The Butterfly Project which is a compilation of thousands of handmade paper butterflies carrying the hopes and dreams of the children visitors on their wings.

Austin City Limits Theater shows clips and footage from the PBS TV show Austin City Limits which was the longest running music program in American television history. Snippets from Willie Nelson’s concert series, Sheryl Crow, Radiohead, Lyle Lovett and Loretta Lynn, and many other iconic Texas performers.

Mapping Texas is an exhibition that displays some of the most important maps of Texas that change through history, the history of cartography and sketches of land ownerships. These artifacts are owned by the Texas General Land Office which has 45,000 artifacts out of 36 million on display at The Bullock. Many of the maps and sketches in this special exhibition date back to the early 16th century and showcase the way the landscape has changed from Native lands to the current state of Texas today. Photo: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

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»Programs and Events

Programs and Events

First Sundays is a program that offers free admission the first Sunday of every month. There are special programs in the afternoon designed for families and children.

Eye Witness to History takes place on Saturdays to accompany the State of Deception special exhibit. This discussion revolves around the way the media was used in propaganda and other factors that contributed of the Nazi way of thinking.

Worlds We Have Lost: A Dialogue explores what we have lost due to the Holocaust and is led by a Holocaust survivor from Hungary. This is a one night only event that is a panel discussion with other professors and historians.

IMAX Movie Theater is not only an educational tool, but also shows many box office hits such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Dr. Strange, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story coming in December of 2016.

Holiday Event is the annual sale in the museum shop and book store where visitors in store and online can get once a year discounts on great gifts and relics from Texas history. Members will enjoy a special exclusive shopping night that is accompanied with Hors D’ Oeuvres, wine and dessert.

Living History Days occurs on the first Thursday of every month where visitors can enjoy volunteer actors dressed up in historical costumes educating viewers on the history of Texans and prominent figures from the Texas legends. This program is free but visitors must pre-register. Photo: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

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»More Programs and Events

More Programs and Events

Family Workshop Days are held in accordance with new special exhibitions. Family workshops days are offered to bring the history of Texas to a child level understanding so that people of all ages can benefit from history statewide and worldwide.

Homeschool Days are a part of the STEM educational program and grand homeschoolers free admission to the museum and free educator’s resources. There are many programs that cover history, science, and politics that the museum hosts in the classrooms. There are also guided museum tours offered and hands on exhibits that encourage discussion based learning.

High Noon Talks are held on the first Wednesday of every month where noon hour discussions are held that have historical or contemporary significant meaning to Texas.

Book It Texas is a discussion group for native Texas writers, authors, editors and publishers.

Field Trips For Grown Ups is a small group guided tour of the museum where participants can learn about the stories that are otherwise untold in some of the most intriguing artifacts in the museum.

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1800 Congress Ave. Austin, Texas, 78701, website, Phone: 512-936-4629 Photo: The Bullock Texas State History Museum

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Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas