Calendar of Events

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1st Floor (Land)

Encounters on the Land

1stfloor-nativeamericanThe first floor of exhibits explores the people of Texas beginning with the thousands of Native Peoples who lived here for at least 11,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. There were hundreds of different groups with a variety of languages, customs, and beliefs. Learn about the aboriginal inhabitants of Texas through a rotating showcase of artifacts including pottery, weapons, jewelry, and clothing dating back 4000 years.

When the Spaniards, and later the French and others, entered the story in the 1500s, they found what they thought was a New World. Check out hundreds of objects —including an ornate bronze cannon and the skeleton of a crew member— recovered from the 17th century shipwreck La Belle. Captained by the French explorer La Salle, the wreck of La Belle changed our understanding of how European powers wrestled over colonizing this New World.

La Belle shipwreck exhibit
La Belle artifacts Property of France from the collection of the Musée national de la Marine on loan from the Texas Historical Commission through the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

Learn about the Spanish missions that still dot the central Texas landscape and the science, engineering, and cultural adaptations that made settlement on the tough landscape possible. Sit in The Caddo Theater to see and hear about the conflicts arising between European and Native cultural exchange. In this area of the exhibits, you can also see one of the Museum's star artifacts —a wooden gate original to the Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo.

Finally, explore the 19th century lives of settlers and Native Americans: walk inside a life-size recreated dogtrot cabin and see how pioneers, slaves, immigrants and other lived on the land. The first floor exhibits continue through 1900 when the last unexplored region of Texas, the Big Bend area, was finally mapped.

The story of Texas is one of people and the land. Over time, many different people continued to write the story; how they responded to the land, and to each other, shaped the history of our state. The Texas we know today is the sum of all their encounters on the land.