FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alana Inman
Liberty – The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center invites the public to a grand opening event to experience its newly remodeled museum, which features a state-of-the-art exhibition for people of all ages. Atascosito: The History of Southeast Texas explores the life and development of the roughly 10-county area.
The grand opening event will take place Saturday, June 9 from 2-4 p.m., and the Southeast Texas community is invited to experience the exhibit after a brief ribbon cutting ceremony. The free event will also include tours of the exhibits, preservation demonstrations, activities for kids, light refreshments and other activities.
Artifacts, images, historical documents, and interactive media in the exhibit tell the story of the region from prehistoric times through early settlement periods, the Republic through Civil War eras, industrialization, economic growth, and the modern age. The exhibit also features the bases of two Clovis points dating back to 11000 B.C.E.—the earliest recorded evidence of human life in the Atascosito region—on display for the first time ever.
“This new exhibit does a great job of walking guests step by step through the rich history of the Atascosito region,” said Mark Smith, Texas State Librarian and Director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, which operates the Sam Houston Center. “I can’t wait for visitors to experience the museum’s new interactive features and the wealth of fascinating artifacts on display. I am proud of the way the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, by way of the Sam Houston Center, has taken such good care of the Southeast Texas community’s history through its preservation efforts.”
The new permanent exhibit also showcases the “Executive Record, of the Second Term of General Sam Houston as President of the Republic of Texas” (ca. 1841-1844), and the military service claim of William Ashworth, the head of a free black family who submitted a petition to be exempt from an 1840 Texas law asserting that all free blacks residing in the Republic had to leave or be sold into slavery.
The exhibit delves into the region’s diverse economic growth. Visitors can learn about the steamboats that traveled the Trinity River by viewing a paddlewheel segment from the Black Cloud (ca. 1866-1873), which carried guns and supplies during the Civil War, and the log book (ca. 1870) of the Mary Conley, which was the largest steamboat to travel the Trinity. Photographs, interactive videos, and other items allow visitors to explore the history of the area’s cattle, timber, rice, and oil industries as well.
In addition, the museum houses a rotating special exhibit that will change twice per year. Current display items include a summer spread sewn by the wife of Sam Houston, Margaret Lea Houston, and correspondence between the couple. Also available for viewing is what is purported to be a diary (ca. 1850) written by French pirate Jean Lafitte.
The museum renovation began over a year ago with a team of historians, exhibit designers, and construction personnel under the supervision of the Center’s manager Alana Inman.
“We worked with local historians and other members of the community to ensure this museum and permanent exhibit reflect the vibrant history of all of the diverse people who have shaped history in Southeast Texas,” Inman said.
Houston Archaeological Society member Wilson W. “Dub” Crook is available for media interviews regarding the archaeological finds showcased in the exhibit.
Full details are posted online at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/museumreopening.
About the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center A component of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center houses local government records, rare books, manuscripts, archival materials, photographs and other media formats covering a wide range of Southeastern Texas history. Four historic buildings and the Jean Price Daniel Home and Archives are located on the SHC’s grounds. These buildings document 19th and 20th century Southeast Texas history.
The facility is named in honor of Sam Houston. Lawyer, statesman, and hero of the Texas Revolution, General Sam Houston began a relationship with this area before he was a leader of the Republic of Texas. Over 30 years he concluded land transactions involving nearly 20,000 acres, and established family homes at Cedar Point in 1840 and at Grand Cane in 1842. From 1838 to 1855, Houston practiced law in Liberty, maintaining an office across from the Courthouse Square.