La Belle: The Ship That Changed History
The reassembled ship itself, rare artifacts, fascinating films, an extensive exhibition, archaeological experts, and online resources provide exceptional multi-disciplinary opportunities for learning about a turning point in Texas history.
At the Museum
Make your plans now to visit the first-floor Texas History Gallery to experience the exhibition La Belle: The Ship That Changed History, featuring the preserved hull of the ship and select original artifacts that tell this important Texas story.
Reservations for the 22021–2022 school year are now open. Please visit the Field Trips page for details.
In the Classroom
La Belle: The Ship That Changed History Distance Learning Program
Who was the 17th Century French explorer La Salle? How did the sinking of his ship, La Belle, change the history of Texas? What technological innovations were used to excavate and conserve this 300 year old ship and its artifacts? Discover the answers to these questions by examining the artifacts found on the ship with a Museum Educator during a live, interactive videoconference. Click here to learn more and to schedule.
La Belle: The Ship That Changed History Poster
Use this classroom poster to dive into the historic story of La Salle's exploration of Texas, as well as the modern story of the ship's excavation and conservation. Download and print an 11x17" copy, or contact email@example.com if you would like to be mailed a full-size poster.
La Salle’s Expedition
In 1684, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle was given permission by the French King Louis XIV to sail to North America from France to set up a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River. During this lesson students will discover the events that occurred during his failed expedition. Click here to download this resource.
Navigating to North America
Inaccurate maps and the inability to navigate caused La Salle to miss the mouth of the Mississippi River. During this lesson students will retrace La Salle’s route to North America, compare navigational tools used in the past and present, and navigate a route using a compass. Click here to download this resource.
The Ship’s Design
Since La Belle was a “ship kit,” its timbers contained markings that served as instructions for assembling the ship. La Salle planned to transport the timbers to North America, but he decided he needed to assemble the ship in France and use it to carry cargo to the mouth of the Mississippi River. During this lesson students explore the parts and size of La Belle and investigate how to design and build their own kit. Click here to download this resource.