Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum aims to “tell the story of Texas." The modern museum has three floors of exhibits, providing a broad examination of the state’s struggles, individuality and innovation. This museum presents the fascinating story of a state that has been ruled by six different governments: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America.
Visitors are greeted on arrival by a 35-foot (10-meter) tall bronze sculpture of the Lone Star. Texas is known as the Lone Star State, and the star signifies a long history of fighting for independence. From there, explore the different themes of each floor: Land (first floor), Identity (second floor) and Opportunity (third floor).
The story of Texas starts on the first floor, where you'll find Native American artifacts from the period before Europeans arrived in North America. Learn about the Spanish missions of the 16th century and the arrival of the French. The museum's collection includes a bronze cannon recovered from La Belle, the ship that belonged to 17th-century French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle. The ship was found in Matagorda Bay off the coast of Texas.
The second floor is where the state's identity is explored. Read letters and diaries from the 1820s, which recount the citizens' growing frustration at being part of Mexico. Explore a restored gunboat used to defend the state during the Civil War.
Texas' history is tied to the land, from its ranches to its oil refineries. The third floor looks at this relationship, from innovations in farming to the prosperity brought by the oil industry.
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is located in downtown Austin. It’s open daily, except for national holidays, and free parking is available.