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  • Bob Bullock Texas State History MuseumBob Bullock Texas State History Museum Austin, Texas
    The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is owned by the state and devoted to explaining the history of the great state of Texas, and named after the former state Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock, that instigated its construction. It is found in Austin, Texas, just a couple of blocks from the state capitol. It contains three floors of interactive displays, an IMAX theater and a special effects theater. The construction began in 1999 and cost $80 million, opening on San Jacinto Day, April 12, 2001. There is a huge 35 foot bronze Lone Star sculpture that welcomes you to the museum with a very colorful terrazzo floor in the rotunda that shows a marvelous campfire scene with other murals of the state's colorful past. It has a cafe inside and outside, and the museum store that has special Texas memorabilia for anyone. There are three distinct themes about the state's history; identity, opportunity and land. You will become encompassed by sights, sounds and occasionally smells of the Texas heritage with each floor showcasing the most prominent chapters in the story by showing objects, recreated environments and media programs. On the first floor, Land, the story starts before it became known as Texas, with encounters on the land, telling of the first meetings or encounters between the Native Americans that lived here and the European explorers that came here. You will discover the numerous native people that lived on the diverse land, and what they found. First the Spanish, then the French and finally the Americans, and all the while, the native peoples wondered when or if it would ever end. Listen to the words spoken, view the objects that were a main part of their lives, and see what the harsh environment was like for these early adventurers. The story tells of the first missionaries that came with the soldiers, and then the settlers that came here for a completely different reason, the land, to homestead, farm, raise animals and more. Why did all these people come to Texas, and what did they find that kept them here, wanting to build, discover, raise and learn. You will hear about the story that tells about the last vestige of unexplored territory in the state, the Big Bend area and how it was settled after getting mapped and surveyed. The second floor contains the display of Identity and how this marvelous territory, so vast and spread out, became an independent entity and hear the very words that Stephen F. Austin spoke from the jail cell in Mexico City that foretold of the Texas Revolution that would bring other heroes from across the new lands like Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, and others. See the battles through the eyes of Juan Seguin, political leader and Tejano military leader. Hear about the different visions of Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar, who would become Presidents of the Republic and travel along the story to the territory becoming the 28th state in the United States. And why it chose to secede from the Union and joined the Confederacy, fighting alongside other soldiers of the south. Ultimately coming to the fork that led this nation to what it has become today. You will learn about the way the state would grow in the 20th century and become part of its 1936 centennial, and then sit back and see it all appear on a 60 foot video wall, with many interactive places for you to become involved in this tremendous trek through the state's continuing history. Then off to the third floor where Opportunity lives and you can learn about the perseverance that is instilled in Texans from birth and how they set their sights on oil drilling to technology. Learn about the incredible opportunities of ranching and how they had to adapt to the different and mostly difficult conditions of the land so they could stay and grow into the huge state. As the state progressed into the future, you can learn about the advances into medicine, space and technology, and how their hard steady work affected the world around them; and finally sit in the Oil Tank Theater as Texan Walter Cronkite narrates the media presentation that tells the story of oil in the state and how this affected both the state and world. You will learn more about the state then you ever thought possible, so be sure to visit the museum when you come to the capital of Texas.

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  • Elisabeth Ney MuseumElisabet Ney Museum
    Franzisca Bernadina Wilhelmia Elisabeth Ney, grandniece of the Marshal of France, Michel Ney, was a wonderful sculptor and one of the pioneers in bringing art to the state. She was born in Munster, Westphalia, Germany in 1833, the daughter of Johann Adam Ney, stone-carver and Anna Elizabeth. She went to study at the Munich Academy of Art in 1852, and graduated in 1854, heading to Berlin to study with Christian Daniel Rauch. In Berlin, she finished a few famous busts of Otto von Bismarck, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Arthur Schopenhauer, as well as a full length portrait of Ludwig II of Bavaria. Her sculptures during this time was mainly done in a classical German style with focus on realism and correct scale. She then went to Madeira, where she would meet and marry Scottish physician and scientist, Edmund D. Montgomery in 1863 and in 1871, they went to Thomasville, Georgia and settled there, eventually having two sons. In 1873, the couple purchased the Liendo Plantation in Hempstead, Waller County, Texas; and with Edmund working on his research, Ney would manage the plantation; for the following twenty years. Then, in the early 1880s, she was asked to come to Austin by the governor, Oran M. Roberts, and began to restart her career. She constructed a small studio in the Hyde Park neighborhood of north Austin in 1892 and solicited business. She was commissioned to model Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair; which can now be viewed in the Texas State Capitol in Austin and the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, DC. She was then commissioned to create a memorial of Albert Sidney Johnston, that can be viewed today at his gravesite in the Texas State Cemetery. She would also sculpt a marvelous statue of Lady Macbeth during that period that is located in the collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She became quite active in the city's cultural activities, but passed away in 1907, just four years before her husband, and both are interned at the plantation. Her friends created the Texas Fine Arts Association in her honor in 1911, and her home was remodeled into the Elisabeth Ney Museum.

January 11, 2010