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Artifact Gallery

Bringing the "Story of Texas" to life...

The Bullock Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives, and individuals to display historical objects that bring the "Story of Texas" to life. New artifacts are continuously being added to the exhibits. Check out "This Just Installed" below to see the newest additions to our gallery.

Want to discover more? Uncover Texas Artifact Spotlight and dive deeper into the story of a featured artifact.

For a list of past and present artifacts on display, jump to our archive.

This Just In(stalled)

George Hockley’s sword, ca. 1830s

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TITLE: George Hockley’s sword, ca. 1830s
LENDER: Star of the Republic Museum, Washington

When George Hockley (1792–1854) first met Sam Houston in Washington D.C. during the early 1820s, neither man could have predicted that one day they would be fighting together for Texas independence. Houston was a Congressional representative from Tennessee, Hockley was working as a clerk in the commissary division of the War Department, and Texas was a state of Mexico.

When Houston was elected the Governor of Tennessee in 1827, Hockley moved with him and then followed Houston to Texas after Houston was named commander-in-chief of the Texas army in 1835. Hockley was appointed his chief-of-staff and headed up the artillery division at San Jacinto. Hockley was also in charge of the famed Twin Sisters cannon (two six pound canons on one carriage) during the battle.

Hockley carried this 39” sword at San Jacinto. The sword was made by Nathan Starr, an arms and sword maker who helped supply American troops with weapons during the War of 1812.

Hockley and Houston continued their friendship following the revolution. Houston appointed him colonel of ordnance on December 22, 1836, and secretary of war on November 13, 1838, and again on December 23, 1841. Hockley County was named in his honor in 1876.


Flyer, Woman's Rally July 4th at Speights' Bridge, ca. 1915–1919

Flyer, Woman’s Rally July 4th at Speights’ Bridge, ca. 1915–1919

March marks the 101st anniversary of the March 3, 1913 suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. More than 5,000 suffragists came together to demand the right to vote. The movement extended to Texas where women raised awareness for their cause by hosting community rallies, like the one featured in the flyer seen here. Men, women, and children of all ages were invited to a picnic dinner to eat "fried whicken" (we hope they meant chicken) and to hear a speech by Minnie Fisher Cunningham, president of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association from 1915-1919.

After Texas women gained the right to vote in the July 26, 1918 primary elections, over 386,000 women registered to vote—in just 17 days. The Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote nationally was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified in 1920.

Flyer, Woman's Rally July 4th at Speights' Bridge, ca. 1915–1919
LENDER: Jane Y. McCallum Papers (AR.E.004), 1889-1957, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Austin
BORROWED UNTIL: September 2014


Saddle, ca. 1875-1880

Saddle, ca. 1875-1880

Robert F. Tackaberry opened a saddlery in Fort Worth in the early 1850s and operated it until his death in October 1881. Though little is known about Tackaberry, the quality of his work is reflected in his pieces that are housed in museums and collections today. His name is stamped into the leather of a saddle currently on display with other items representative of the cattledrives.

During this period, Fort Worth was an ideal location for a saddlery shop. For drivers herding their cattle up the Chisholm Trail to railheads in Kansas, Fort Worth was the last major stop for rest and supplies. Between 1866 and 1890, more than four million head of cattle were driven through Fort Worth, earning it the nickname “Cowtown.”

The arrival of the railroad in the 1870s transformed Fort Worth from a rest stop along the cattle trail to the finish line. Cattle pens were constructed and the city became the shipping point for livestock. Shortly thereafter, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo began in 1886.

Today, visitors to Fort Worth can watch Texas cowhands (called drovers) drive longhorn down East Exchange Avenue in the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive. Created as part of the city’s sesquicentennial, drovers don authentic 19th century clothing and ride atop period saddles, recounting a time when herds charged their way through the streets of Fort Worth.

Saddle, ca. 1875-1880
Courtesy Dr. Gianfranco Spellman, Austin
Displayed on the museum’s third floor through February 2015

José Enrique de la Peña narrative, ca. 1836-38

José Enrique de la Peña narrative

William Barrett Travis was just 26 years old when he died defending the Alamo on March 6, 1836. After leaving Alabama in 1831 to start a new life in Texas, Travis clashed with Mexican authorities immediately. When hostilities escalated between Texas and Mexico, Travis joined the Texan forces and was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1835.

In February 1836, along with Jim Bowie, Travis assumed joint command of the Alamo. When the Mexican siege began on February 23, Travis sent out word asking for assistance from the "The People of Texas and All Americans In The World." Unfortunately, distance and terrain made it impossible for reinforcements to reach the Alamo and its defenders in time.

Mexican Lt. Col. José Enrique de la Peña (1805–1841) kept a 109-page field diary during the 1836 Texas campaign that includes accounts of how the Alamo's defenders died. According to de la Peña, "Travis was seen to hesitate, but not about the death he would choose. He would take a few steps and stop, turning his proud face toward us to discharge his shots; he fought like a true soldier. Finally he died, but he died after trading his life very dearly. None of his men died with greater heroism, and they all died. Travis behaved like a hero; one must do him justice, for with a handful of men without discipline, he resolved to face men used to war and much superior in numbers, without supplies, with scarce munitions, and against the will of his subordinates."

José Enrique de la Peña narrative, ca. 1836–38
Courtesy José Enrique de la Peña Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Displayed on the museum's second floor through June 2014

Tchaikovsky’s Concerto #1 by Van Cliburn, ca. 1958

tchaikovsky-competitionOn April 13, 1958, Fort Worth resident Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, an event initially staged by Russian officials to show Soviet cultural strength during the Cold War. Cliburn's triumph came just months after the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the first earth-orbiting satellite, and helped tear down cultural barriers by demonstrating the universality of classical music.

Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn began playing the piano at the young age of three under the tutelage of his mother. He made his orchestral debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra when he was 12 years old and went on to study at the prestigious Julliard School in New York following his high school graduation.

Throughout the course of his career, Cliburn received more than 20 honorary doctorate degrees, provided scholarships to a number of schools, and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He performed for every president of the United States since Harry Truman as well as for royalty and heads of state around the world.

Cliburn's RCA Victor recording of Tchaikovsky Concerto #1 topped Billboard's chart for more than 37 weeks. It was the first classical LP in history to sell more than one million copies before reaching triple-platinum status (at least 3,000,000 albums sold). In 2009, the Texas State History Museum Foundation honored Van Cliburn with the History-Making Texan Award for his musical achievements and lasting impact on Texas history.

Tchaikovsky's Concerto #1 by Van Cliburn, ca. 1958
Courtesy Texas Music Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Displayed on the museum's third floor through December 2014

"Grey Goose” 78 RPM by Lead Belly, ca. 1950s


Huddie Ledbetter (1888-1949) left the family farm in Harrison County when he was 13 years old to work in minstrel shows, a combination of music and comedy skits. While performing in Shreveport, Dallas, and Fort Worth he met famed bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson, who helped Ledbetter learn to play the 12–string guitar.

Ledbetter was convicted of murder in 1918 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He earned his famous nickname, "Lead Belly" during this stretch. One story suggests it was because he was shot in the stomach, another because of his furious work pace while on a chain gang. Released in 1926, he found himself behind bars again in 1930, this time at the Angola state prison in Louisiana, on a charge of assault with attempt to murder.

In Angola he was discovered by Texas folklorists John and Alan Lomax who were recording prison songs for the Library of Congress. After his release from prison, Lead Belly was able to tour with the Lomaxes where he gained fame on the folk circuit and recorded several songs.

His most popular recording, "Goodnight Irene," was re-recorded and released by the Weavers during the 1950s. This recording of "Grey Goose" was done with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston.

"Grey Goose" 78 RPM by Lead Belly, ca. 1950s
Courtesy Texas Music Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin
Displayed on the museum's third floor through November 2014

Sferics radio, ca. 1953-54

SfericsRadio2013Prior to the 1940s, weather forecasting was as unpredictable as the weather itself. While forecasting made advances during World War II, storm warnings were often delayed in reaching the public due to wartime secrecy. Tired of relying on undependable methods, Dan Braman set out to create an inexpensive storm-warning radio for Texas ranchers.

Braman, a fourth-generation member of the O'Connor ranching family of Victoria, set up a radio manufacturing company in San Antonio. Sferics Inc., a play on the word atmospherics, produced the SF1-1 model radio, with an AM radio dial on the left-hand side and a large square meter with an area labeled 'Severe' on the right. To operate as a storm alert, owners switched the radio to 'Alert' mode and tuned into an unoccupied frequency. The radio remained quiet until static, triggered by lightning, raised the voltage beyond the trip point, causing the radio to emit a screeching noise to signal an oncoming storm.

Unfortunately, electrical outages were often a better alarm than the radio itself. The radio did not find a suitable market niche and was viewed as a failure by its creators.

Sferics radio, ca. 1953-54
Courtesy Donald Wright and Douglas Wright, Members of Texas Antique Radio Club, Canyon Lake
Displayed on the museum's third floor through November 2015

Women's Suffrage

suffrage-victory-mapWomen's suffrage in Texas found little support in the Republic and Early Statehood periods. But that began to change in the late 1800s. From 1893 to 1896, the Texas Equal Rights Association served as one of the state’s first women’s suffrage organizations, peaking curiosity about the issue of women’s rights.

By the turn of the twentieth century, women’s clubs began to multiply in Texas cities and towns. They were an outlet for educated women, forming ready-made organizations for political action. Following the formation of the Equal Franchise Society in San Antonio in 1912 and the revival of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association the next year, women throughout the state formed franchise organizations. Members held frequent meetings, sponsored public lectures, and distributed large quantities of literature on suffrage, stimulating interest throughout the state.

Texas suffragists continued to push the state legislature to pass a bill that would grant women voting rights in Texas primary elections. On March 26, 1918, women’s primary suffrage was signed into Texas law. The following year, Texas became the ninth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting full voting rights to women nationwide.

This map shows the voting rights granted to individual states before the Nineteenth Amendment. States in black had full suffrage, states with stars had primary suffrage, and dotted states had presidential suffrage.

Suffrage Victory Map, ca. March 1919
Courtesy Jane Y. McCallum Papers (AR.E.004),. 1889-1957, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Austin
Displayed on museum’s second floor through March 2014

LBJ Flyer

LBJ-Case-3-4-1Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Lyndon Johnson became the 36th president of the United States. As a transformative leader who was reelected in 1964 on his own candor, you might be surprised to learn that this successful presidential bid was not the most important election of his career. Rather, the 1941 senate campaign that Johnson lost proved that he was a political force to be reckoned with on both the state and national stages.

Following the death of Senator Morris Shepard in April 1941, a special election was scheduled for June to fill his seat. With polls giving Johnson only five percent of the vote, he faced a fierce race against Attorney General Gerald C. Mann, Congressman Martin Dies, and Governor Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, who proved to be Johnson’s major competition.

Backed by President Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson steadily gained on his opponents. By Election Day, a confident Johnson led the polls by 5,000 votes. With victory in sight, Johnson’s campaign manager, future governor John Connally, advised election officials to report their numbers. This critical error informed O’Daniel’s team of the number of votes needed to steal the election. In a last-minute upset, Johnson lost the election to Governor O’Daniel by 1,311 votes after late elections returns from East Texas turned up. When the senate seat opened up again in 1948, Johnson remembered his earlier mistake and made sure he won.

Lyndon Johnson of Blanco County flyer, ca. 1941
Courtesy Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin
Displayed on the museum's 3rd floor through October 2014

Santa Anna's Snuff Box

Santa Anna snuff boxAfter the Mexican army was defeated at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, Texas soldiers raided and looted Santa Anna's tent. They came away with several noteworthy pieces, many of which (his smoking cap, his cut glass decanters, his chamber pot, and his field glass) were or are on display at the Bullock.

The recent addition of Santa Anna's snuff box has a slightly different background story. It was taken from his person following the defeat and is noteworthy for its intricate design. Roughly the size of a modern–day business card holder, the box has a gold appearance. It is not gold–plated since that process had not yet been invented. The gold cover could either be from a gold–foil stamp or a thin sheet of gold.

There are engravings on the front and reverse side. The top features what could be a military scene that includes an officer mounted on a horse in back of three men — possibly soldiers — who appear to be overlooking a battle ground. The back features a series of hieroglyphics that may be Indian pictographs. The repeating pattern indicates that it was commercially made somewhere in the Americas, most likely Mexico City. How many figures can you identify?

Santa Anna's snuff box, ca. 1820s-1830s
Courtesy San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte
Displayed on the Museum's second floor through July 2014

Female Pilot's World War II Flight Log

pilotbook id

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the country was faced with a shortage of pilots. Nearly simultaneously, two efforts were organized to recruit female pilots to overcome this shortage and to free male pilots for combat duty.The United States Army Air Forces created the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) to ferry planes for the Air Transport command. This unit trained at New Castle Army Air Base in Wilmington, Delaware.

In November 1942 the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) was launched by General Henry "Hap" Arnold, chief of the Army Air Force. That group trained in Houston at the Municipal Airport in deplorable conditions due to wartime rations. When better quarters became available, the women were moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas in early 1943.

In August 1943 the WFTD and the WAFS merged into one command called the Women's Airforce Service Pilots. The WASP received approximately 210 hours of flying time, equally divided between PT-17s, BT-13s, and AT-6s. Approximately 285 additional hours were devoted to ground school instruction. Graduates of Avenger Field went on to flying assignments throughout the United States, ferrying a total of 12,650 planes.

Nell Stevenson of Amarillo kept this log book during her eight month training period (September 16, 1942 - May 16, 1943). She operated planes that served as tow targets and went on simulated strafing runs at Biggs Army Air Field in El Paso. Her flight log lists 66 flights.



Pilot's flight log, ca. 1942-1943
Courtesy of Nell Stevenson Bright Papers, The Woman's Collection, Texas Woman's University, Denton
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Kinnison
Displayed on the Museum's third floor through December 2013

Tom Mathis Military ID Card

ID CardDuring World War II, approximately 6,000 American glider pilots flew the skies of the European and Pacific Theaters. Towed by traditional military aircraft, their tether was cut near their landing zone and they glided to any available clear terrain near their target where they offloaded troops, supplies, and military vehicles. They spearheaded all the major invasions, landing behind enemy lines in their unarmed gliders in Sicily, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Bastogne, Rhine Crossing, Luzon in the Philippines, and Burma.

Tom Mathis (1914-2012) enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army in 1940 following an honorable discharge from the National Guard. When the U.S. introduced the glider pilot program in 1941, Staff Sergeant Mathis joined the Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) and trained at South Plains Army Air Field in Lubbock. Commissioned as a flight officer in the 316th Troop Carrier Group, Mathis flew in the European Theatre participating in Operation Market Garden (September 1944). That mission was the largest airborne operation at the time it was conducted.

Mathis earned the Air Medal "for exceptional performance of an aviation mission under hazardous circumstances." After successfully landing his glider plane in Grave, Netherlands during Operation Market Garden, Mathis assisted a Lieutenant Colonel in guarding captured German soldiers.

Tom Mathis military ID card, February 1, 1944
Courtesy Tom Mathis's children: Carol Field, Julie Hollocher, Janet Van Oonk, and Tom Mathis, Jr.
Displayed on the museum's third floor through June 2014