Becoming Texas

Where does the story of Texas begin?

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The new first floor gallery, Becoming Texas, is a hands-on, immersive environment that uncovers Texas history with the most contemporary research on our past.

This one-of-a-kind journey through more than 16,000 years of Texas history documents the rise and fall of nations up to Mexican Independence in 1821.

  • Learn about the men and women who established vast trade networks across the Americas. View weapons, jewelry, tools, and imagery representing the diversity of early American Indian civilizations who cultivated the lands in what we now call Texas.
  • Test the strength needed to provide food for your family as you pull back a bow and imagine releasing an arrow.
  • Understand European ambitions to colonize North America by exploring early European maps of North America, weapons, heavy Spanish leather armor, and gold from a 1554 sunken treasure fleet that never returned to Spain.
  • Discover French explorer La Salle's failed 1684 attempt to establish a colony in the Gulf of Mexico. Examine the expedition's 300-year-old ship, La Belle, excavated off the Texas coast by the Texas Historical Commission. See thousands of items of cargo found in the hull, including colonial household items, a bronze cannon, navigation tools, weapons, and trade goods.
  • See what life was like beyond the frontier in Spanish Catholic missions, military forts, and settlements. Examine rare mission gates, delicately crafted statues, religious icons, paintings, household items, and personal and official letters that tell the trials, hopes, and dreams of the people of New Spain.
  • Touch replica objects and reveal the innovative uses of natural resources by American Indian peoples. Place yourself in the middle of cultural interactions that occurred between nations and tribes through interactive touch screens.
  • Learn how American Indian artists are passing on their cultures' traditions to future generations through films, stories, and artifacts made exclusively for Bullock Museum visitors to experience.
  • Immerse yourself in the different Texas landscapes with a multi-sensory environmental experience to hear the languages that existed in pre-1821 Texas.
  • Witness how global politics influenced the growth of early Texas in its earliest days through original treaties, documents, and artifacts.  
  • Find out how modern-day descendants of American Indians, Canary Islanders, Africans, Spaniards, Mexicans, and French share their family legacies today.

Select Artifacts On View in the Exhibition

Support for the Bullock Museum's exhibitions and education programs is provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation. Major support for Becoming Texas provided by Bobbie Nau, John L. Nau III, the Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation, the Mays Family Foundation, the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Joan and Bruce Blakemore, H-E-B, the Dan L Duncan Foundation, the Houston Endowment, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ed Rachal Foundation, the Stedman West Foundation, the West Endowment, and the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation.