New Museum And Visitor Experience Opens At San Felipe De Austin State Historic Site [VIDEO]
San Felipe, Texas––San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, a Texas Historical Commission (THC) property, officially unveiled a new 10,000 square-foot state-of-the-art museum Friday April 27, during their grand opening ceremony
State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, THC Chairman John L. Nau, III, THC Executive Director Mark Wolfe, and Friends of the Texas Historical Commission Chair Lareatha Clay welcomed visitors to the new educational facility showcasing undertold stories of the birth of Texas and Stephen F. Austin’s early settlers in Mexican Texas and the Runaway Scrape.
“To truly understand the birth of Texas as an independent nation, one must understand and appreciate the role that Stephen F. Austin and San Felipe de Austin played in the state’s earliest days,” said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the THC. “The incredible story and personalities preserved here will attract visitors from across the Lone Star State, and beyond.”
Built from the ground up, the museum offers visitors a chance to see unique artifacts and interactive displays related to this pivotal location in Texas history. See the desk that once belonged to Stephen F. Austin; witness an operating 1830s cast-iron printing press like the one used to publish William Travis’ “Victory or Death” letter; and peruse hundreds of artifacts recovered during archeological investigations at the THC’s state historic site. The largest exhibit is an 1830s log cabin rebuilt inside the museum.
In addition, the museum incorporates murals, films, and multimedia elements that tell San Felipe’s real stories and allow visitors to directly interact with this vital episode in Texas history.
Because the town of San Felipe was burned during the Texas Revolution, a large touch-screen wall mural depicts an interactive layout of the historic downtown prior to Texas Independence. Visitors can engage with the historic site and its stories by touching animations on the large screen.
The museum features a temporary gallery that will host rotating exhibits related to the town and its history. Additional outdoor learning opportunities include tours of the grounds that reflect the original plat of the town, an outdoor map allowing visitors to better understand Austin’s grand vision for his town, and occasional active archeological excavations and lab analysis. Weekend programming will feature authors, historians, teachers, and other experts that can share their knowledge through exciting tours and programs.
The $12.56 million San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site Museum project showcases a unique public-private partnership, with the State of Texas committing $7.49 million to the project, and the Friends of the THC raising the additional $5.1 million from private philanthropy. The Friends are guided in this effort by a campaign committee lead by Honorary Co-Chair Senator Lois Kolkhorst. The capital campaign for the project will continue following the opening of the museum, in order to allow the THC to complete the full development of the museum and the site.
“We believe the museum experience at San Felipe de Austin will reshape the way Texans think about the Mexican Texas era and the eventual march to independence,” said Bryan McAuley, site manager at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site.
San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site is one of 22 historic sites managed by the THC. Located on the Brazos River, the site is near the heart of the original township of San Felipe de Austin, founded by Austin in 1823 as the headquarters of his colony.
The new museum is open daily, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and will be free to the public through May 6. More information is available at visitsanfelipedeaustin.com and 979-885-2181.