The Bullock Texas State History Museum is an expansive cultural center in downtown Austin, Texas, that aims to educate visitors about the state’s rich and complex history. The museum features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that explore the state’s diverse cultural heritage, natural resources, economic development, and political and social history. It is named after Bob Bullock, a former Texas politician who championed the museum’s creation and served as its founding director.
The museum opened its doors to the public on April 21, 2001, after more than a decade of planning and fundraising. It was designed by the renowned architecture firm Overland Partners and features a striking limestone and glass facade that blends modern aesthetics with Texas’ traditional building materials. The museum occupies a 175,000-square-foot space that includes three floors of exhibit space, a 200-seat theater, an event hall, classrooms, and administrative offices.
The museum’s permanent exhibits cover a wide range of topics that span thousands of years of Texas history. The first exhibit that visitors encounter is the “Story of Texas” exhibit, which provides an overview of the state’s past, from its geological formation to its modern-day identity. The exhibit features interactive multimedia displays, artifacts, and immersive environments that showcase Texas’ diverse cultures, industries, and historical events. Some of the highlights of this exhibit include a replica of a Comanche tipi, a Spanish mission, a frontier fort, and a space capsule used in NASA’s Apollo program. More here
Other permanent exhibits at the Bullock Museum include the “Becoming Texas” exhibit, which focuses on the state’s early settlement and colonization; the “Texas Revolution” exhibit, which tells the story of Texas’s fight for independence from Mexico; and the “Wild Texas” exhibit, which showcases the state’s natural resources and wildlife. The museum also has a rotating exhibit program that features special exhibitions on a variety of topics related to Texas history, culture, and art.
In addition to its exhibits, the Bullock Museum also hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including lectures, film screenings, musical performances, and family activities. The museum’s Texas Spirit Theater is a state-of-the-art venue that features a 180-degree screen, surround sound, and special effects technology that immerses visitors in Texas history and culture through film. The museum also has an education program that offers curriculum-based tours and workshops for school groups, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers.
The Bullock Museum is operated by the State Preservation Board, a state agency that oversees the management and preservation of historic sites and buildings in Texas. The museum is funded through a combination of public and private sources, including the state legislature, private donations, and revenue generated from admission fees and gift shop sales.
Since its opening, the Bullock Museum has become a popular destination for visitors to Austin and a vital educational resource for Texas residents. It has won numerous awards for its exhibits, architecture, and community engagement, including the 2001 Texas Society of Architects Design Award, the 2002 American Association of Museums Award for Excellence, and the 2015 Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll “Best Museum” award.
What Can You Expect When You Visit There?
When you visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum, you can expect to encounter a wide variety of exhibits, activities, and programs that offer a rich and immersive experience of Texas history and culture. Here are some of the things you can expect to see and do when you visit:
- Explore the “Story of Texas” exhibit: This expansive exhibit provides an overview of Texas’s history, from the state’s geological formation to its modern-day identity. You can explore interactive displays, artifacts, and immersive environments that showcase Texas’ diverse cultures, industries, and historical events.
- Discover Texas’ natural resources: The “Wild Texas” exhibit showcases the state’s unique natural resources, from its vast grasslands and forests to its rich oil and gas reserves. You can learn about Texas’ diverse wildlife, including its iconic Longhorn cattle, as well as its geological formations, such as the famous Enchanted Rock.
- Learn about Texas’ fight for independence: The “Texas Revolution” exhibit tells the story of Texas’s fight for independence from Mexico, including the famous Battle of the Alamo. You can explore artifacts and interactive displays that bring this pivotal moment in Texas history to life.
- Experience the Texas Spirit Theater: The museum’s state-of-the-art theater features a 180-degree screen, surround sound, and special effects technology that immerses visitors in Texas history and culture through film. You can watch a variety of films that showcase Texas’ unique spirit and heritage.
- Enjoy rotating exhibits: The museum’s rotating exhibit program features special exhibitions on a variety of topics related to Texas history, culture, and art. You can explore topics such as Texas music, folk art, and contemporary culture through these dynamic and engaging exhibits. Recommended you read
- Participate in events and programs: The museum hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including lectures, film screenings, musical performances, and family activities. You can participate in these programs to deepen your understanding and appreciation of Texas history and culture.
- Shop at the Museum Store: The museum store offers a wide selection of Texas-themed gifts, books, and souvenirs. You can purchase unique items that reflect the state’s rich cultural heritage, from cowboy hats and boots to handmade pottery and jewelry.
Important Information You Need to Know
- Address: 1800 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701, United States
- Website: http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/
- Contact: +15129368746
- Open Hours: Tuesday-Sunday (10 am-5 pm), Monday (Closed)