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Houston Museum of Natural Science Opens Texas! Making History Since 1519

Cowboys, immigrants, farmers, roughnecks: Texas has a history as large as the state itself. Explore the unique roles that Texas has played as: a Spanish colony, part of the Mexican Frontera, an independent Republic, and the 28th state to join the Union. Discover Texas’ rich legacy of perseverance, determination, diverse heritage and unique spirit through the stories of its central events and famous icons. Artifacts from across the State will present some of the most significant moments in Texas’ history during the upcoming special exhibition, Texas! Making History Since 1519—opening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Sunday, March 6.

“Texas is known for a lot of things and this grand exhibition boasts what’s great about the Lone Star State and highlights some of its outstanding attributes,” said J.P. Bryan, guest curator for the Texas! exhibition and a direct descendant of Moses Austin, Stephen F. Austin’s father. “From notorious warriors responsible for the birth of a one-of-a-kind republic and state, to famous events, and a vast collection of artifacts, these collected works provide a vivid glimpse into the rich heritage of Texas.”

Fascinating Texas Artifacts
History is alive and well in this great state. Experience the most significant moments in history through artifacts collected from around the region, including:

• Artifacts from the 1685 shipwreck of the La Belle, one of René Robert Cavelier de La Salle’s fleet.

• The “Come and Take It” Cannon, the spark that ignited the Battle of Gonzales, the first in the war for independence from Mexico.

• Stephen F. Austin’s 1830 ‘Tanner map’ of Texas and adjoining states.
• The decree granting Mexican citizenship to James Bowie, Sept. 30, 1830 – and his famous Bowie Knife, found at the Alamo.

• Col. William Barret Travis’ “Victory or Death” letter, a rare original printed broadside of Col. William Barret Travis’ desperate plea from the Alamo.

• Battle Standard #4, the flag that flew over the decisive Battle of San Jacinto and Sam Houston’s report on the Battle, which includes the phrase “Remember the Alamo,” dated April 25, 1836.

• The Juneteenth Order, from General Robert S. Granger’s June 19, 1865 declaration of Emancipation Day in Texas, the date when all slaves were officially set free.

• The most complete collection of Republic of Texas money ever assembled, documenting the financial difficulties of Texas as an independent nation from 1836-1846.

Legendary Texas Icons
Legends live large in Texas and it’s no surprise that these icons are as dramatic and appealing as the state. These are just a few of the people visitors will meet in the exhibition.

• René Robert Cavelier de La Salle, French explorer who established the first European colony in Texas – by accident.

• Stephen F. Austin, the first of 23 empresarios to build a colony within Mexican Texas. His Old Three Hundred started a population boom that would lead to the Texas Revolution.

• Davy Crockett, famed frontiersman and United States Congressman, he was one of nearly 200 men who stood for Texas independence against impossible odds.

• Sam Houston, commander in chief of the Texas Army, who led the state to victory in the Battle of San Jacinto, where just 18 minutes of battle secured our independence.

• Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican general who overthrew his government before leading an army to Texas.

• E. E. Townsend, Texas Ranger and founder of Big Bend National Park.

Historic Texas Events
An epic history, various people and a diverse geography shaped this wild and wonderful republic. Explore these and many more events in Texas!.

• In 1519, Alonzo Alvarez de Piñeda, explored the Gulf Coast from Florida to the Rio Grande. With his four ship fleet, he became the first European to map the Texas coast.
• The Anahuac Disturbances in 1832 were the first open revolt against Mexican rule.

• The Battle of Gonzales launched the Texas Revolution on October 2, 1835 when Mexican forces arrived to take possession of a cannon and Texas residents hoisted a flag bearing the words “Come and Take It.”

• After a 13-day siege, Texan forces – including William Travis, James Bowie and Davy Crockett – are overwhelmed at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

• On April 22, 1836, Santa Anna is captured after the Battle of San Jacinto and forced to sign the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war.

• In 1953, the remains of the oldest human skeleton ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere are found near Midland, TX – recent studies indicate the skeleton may be much more than 10,000 years old.

• The five pointed lone star—the symbol of Texas, first appeared on a small copper coin, a jola ½ real piece minted in San Antonio de Béxar in 1817-1818.

• March 2, 2011 – The 175th Anniversary of Texas Independence.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science will also host a special IMAX® film, TEXAS: The Big Picture, to coincide with the Texas! special exhibition. Buy a ticket to see Texas! and see Texas: The Big Picture for half off.

This special exhibition was organized by the Houston Museum of Natural Science with assistance from The Heritage Society, Houston, The San Jacinto Museum of History, the Dallas Historical Society and The Torch Collection, Houston.

Local support provided by Frost; Banking, Investments & Insurance and Kinetic Energy, Ann and Henry Hamman, Kathy and Peter Huddleston, and David and Bonnie Weekley.

Texas! Making History Since 1519 will be on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from March 6, 2011 through Sept. 5, 2011. Tickets may be purchased online, which is recommended due to the expected popularity of this exhibit. For more information, visit the museum’s web site at

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