2nd Floor (Identity)

Building the Lone Star Identity

Your journey continues on the second floor where you'll learn more about how the Lone Star Identity was shaped through two centuries of conflict and compromise, influenced by those with long-standing traditions and new concepts.

Alamo exhibit

The first chapter opens in the 1820's with Texas as part of the Mexican state of Tejas y Coahuila. Hand-written letters, diaries, and other priceless artifacts bring to life the growing sense of separateness Texans felt from Mexico. Step inside the Mexico City jail cell where Empressario Stephen F. Austin was held and trace his political transition from loyal citizen of Mexico to advocate for independence. In the Revolution Theater, behind an impressive Alamo façade, you will watch the battles of the revolution unfold through the eyes of Juan Seguin, a tejano soldier who witnessed much of the fight from Gonzales to the Alamo to victory at San Jacinto.

Next, follow Texas as an free Republic into her annexation as a state of the United States -- just in time to be pulled in to the U.S. Civil War. Walk onto a cottonclad gunboat used to defend the Texas coast. Explore a mural timeline of the war and see how cotton and slavery defined the Texas identity, and even her borders, in the mid-19th century.

In the peacetime decades following the war, the Lone Star identity was expanded and redefined as immigrants from other states and countries along with women, African American and Mexican American residents, demanded a greater share in the opportunities Texas offered. Don't miss the original Goddess of Liberty that sat atop the state's capitol from its opening in 1888 until 1985; the Museum houses the 2000 lb galvanized iron beauty in the Reconstruction area of the exhibits.

The final chapter on the second floor focuses on the 1936 centennial that again redefined Texas identity, politics, and character. As the nation struggled through the Great Depression, planners of the Texas Centennial Celebration designed an ambitious advertising campaign around colorful and romantic western myths to encourage tourism and capital investment in the state. Check out fascinating film footage, posters, and other objects from this watershed moment when "Texas" became synonymous with "the west" and forged a new identity as a land of infinite opportunity.