Following the Civil War, formerly enslaved African Americans created their own separate, self-sufficient communities. Freedman’s settlements, also called freedom colonies, offered African Americans a place to live, worship, and get an education away from the violence and discrimination they faced in the Jim Crow South.

Dr. Andrea Roberts of Texas A&M University started The Texas Freedom Colonies Project in 2014 to document the histories of these communities and map their locations. This year the Bullock Museum partnered with Dr. …

Teacher Josh Ault created a project for his students to help bring Texas history to life!

Taking inspiration from William Henry Huddle’s painting “The Surrender of Santa Anna,” a teacher from Dawson Middle School in Southlake, Texas encouraged his 7th grade students to create a work of art emulating the famous painting.

Ault used the project as a creative way to help his students learn about the Battle of San Jacinto and remember its importance. We spoke to Ault about how thinking outside of the box for this project helped to create a memorable learning opportunity for his students.

Pictured from left to right — Standing: Varun Mathews, Cameron Patel, Noah Dyer, Josh Ault (teacher), Alejandro Galeano, Carter Miller — Kneeling: Keshav Suryakumar, Tyler Koo, Ethan Johnson


A Pictorial History of Smallpox

Detail of Lakota Winter Count, a pictorial calendar, including image of person with red dots representing smallpox epidemic
Detail of Lakota Winter Count, 1800s. Courtesy Houston Museum of Natural Science.

It has been two years since the Becoming Texas gallery opened at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. With the exhibition starting the story of Texas 16,000 years ago and ending with Mexican independence in 1821, there is no shortage of stories to tell about the many diverse peoples who made these lands home.

An ever-changing display of artifacts tells these stories, reinforces the idea that a better understanding of our history is always developing, and ensures there is always something new to experience in the gallery. Safely kept in archives, libraries, museums, and in private and family collections around…

A conversation with the film’s director, producer, and subject

This season’s Texas Focus Film Series at the Bullock Texas State History Museum explores the stories of unique individuals and their relationship with society.

In THE PUSHBACK, Kevin Ford’s most recent film, though not entirely a fly-on-the-wall perspective, Kevin stays clear and close to his mission — to, “amplify voices and stories of people on the front lines who are fighting to make change.”

We invited Kevin Ford (director, producer, cinematographer, editor), Emily Barclay Ford (producer) and Natasha Harper-Madison (film subject and Austin City Council member) to join us for a conversation with the Museum’s Film Programs Manager. …

What is it exactly and how is it commemorated?

Juneteenth Art Quilt from And Still We Rise | Quilt artist Renee Allen uses her art works to amplify the voices of the soft‐spoken. The tactile quality of fabric enables her to create and exhibit the emotions of her subject matter. Quilting techniques include machine appliqué, hand painting, hand-drawn appliqué, and machine quilting.

On June 19, 1865 — more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation — Union General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

That date, now known as Juneteenth, marked the end of slavery in the…

Looking Back at the Gemini IX Spacecraft, courtesy NASA/Eugene Cernan

Paving the way for the first man on the Moon

On June 5, 1966, Gemini 9A astronaut Gene Cernan became the second American — and only the third person — to complete a spacewalk. Nearly everything about the Gemini 9A mission and his spacewalk was new and unknown to him, to his crewmate Tom Stafford, and to NASA. The main purpose of the spacewalk was to test ways in which astronauts could maneuver in open space, including a jet pack called an Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (AMU).

Before NASA’s Apollo Program could land a man on the moon, the Gemini Program tested and perfected the skills and technology to make it…

Artifacts of our shared past bring a familiar story to life

Detail of Newport Rifles Battle Flag, courtesy State Preservation Board, Austin

For many Texans, the story of Sam Houston and the victory of the Texan Army at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836 is familiar lore. Next to the Alamo, it is what many of us remember most clearly from our Texas History classes as children. But for those of you who don’t remember clearly, didn’t learn the story as kids, or haven’t visited the Bullock Museum recently, here is a recap.

“Daily Commute” (far right) painting on display in Comanche Motion: The Art of Eric Tippeconnic at the Bullock Texas State History Museum

This post is contributed by Erin Shanahan, External Affairs Coordinator, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

As a non-native Texan (Originally from San Diego, try not to judge!) and one of the newest members of staff at the Bullock Museum, I was given the opportunity to meet the artist behind Comanche Motion: The Art of Eric Tippeconnic.

The experience helped me better understand one of my favorite exhibitions.

To understand the meaning behind Comanche Motion: The Art of Eric Tippeconnic, first close your eyes and picture an American Indian.

What do they look like? What are they wearing?


Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the moon on July 20, 1969. Image courtesy NASA/Neil Armstrong

From satellites to water filters, to scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses, the space program is present throughout our lives. Technology developed for NASA missions has not only served astronauts and space exploration, but we stargazers on the ground, too. We frequently use many items produced specifically for work in space. Take cordless vacuums, like the Dustbuster. It was originally designed to pick up moon rocks. Or memory foam, which you may find in your pillow or mattress at home. NASA first developed it to make spacecraft seats more safe and comfortable.

Hundreds of items that were the product of research and development…

The Goddess of Liberty just before crews hoisted her to the top of the Capitol, February 1888. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 1989/090–1.

Not Just Another Pretty Face

High atop the Capitol dome– sword of justice in one hand and a gilded Lone Star in the other– the Goddess of Liberty has watched over Texas since 1888.

The statue’s illustrious history eventually led to the Bullock Texas State History Museum, where the Goddess was installed in 2000. This summer, her story continues as the iconic statue will receive key restoration this summer thanks to a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.

Bullock Museum

Official account of the Bullock Texas State History Museum. We tell the Story of Texas. #BullockMuseum

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