The Texas State Historical Museum
The Story of Texas
Austin, TX

August 16th, 2004

Having batted around the United States for half a dozen years, I finally decided it was time to change our residence to a state that was more friendly toward full-timers.  Although there were several good contenders Texas won out mostly because we happened to be heading that way when we made the decision to leave Ohio and its requirement to get the vehicle inspected every other year.  We have been members of the Escapee's RV club which allows us to use them as a permanent address, qualifying us to vote.  So we are now faithful residents of the great state of Texas.  As such I thought it might be appropriate to learn a little about the state we now cast our votes in.  With this in mind, we scheduled a week in the capital, Austin. What better place to find out all those neat, interesting things about the state than at the State Historical Museum.  After a few inquiries we knew exactly which building we were looking for.  The one with the biggest bronze colored star, located right at the front door of the building.  A three story building that stretched a city block, with this big star forming an archway access to the front of the building.  The building is so long that it defied the ability of my camera to get it all in. Subsequently I ended up having to make a composite picture. Which is why the building rises up on the left.  Anyway, Laura stood in front of the star and I got the picture.  The building is as interesting as the things that we found inside.  It is comprised of a round foyer with a left and right wing. The foyer is the most impressive by far.  The windows are the size of the doors, and are stacked 6 on top of each other on each floor.  The  rounded room goes clear to the ceiling.  Light streams in through the glass onto a mosaic floor, decorated with life-size like designs of all those things that make Texas great. For those of us that had the energy there is a circular stairway with more than enough steps to tire an athlete. Now I could talk about running up to the top floor just to prove I could do it, but unfortunately Laura caught me during my only movement on it so I confess, I only walked down, still it was quite a sight from top to bottom.  The highly polished design in the middle of the room formed a complete picture, from the top floor, but as I descended, more of the details came out while less of the overall image was clear.  The entire design is quite enormous.  
The most spectacular part of the entire museum unfortunately was not photographable. It was called the Texas Spirit Theater.  When first getting into the show, I thought it was just one of those slide shows featuring all photos.  That is, until the first lightning bolt flashed overhead and the ground shook.  The chairs were wired to shake.  For the next few minutes, we learned about Texas with all our senses.  The final scene was a great thunder storm. Lightning flashed, thunder shock the chair and then a fine mist of rain drifted down from the ceiling.  Although not enough to get wet in, it was still quite a shock when it hit my face.  The film itself was worth the whole trip.  The rest of the museum was pretty much static with a lot of displays and exhibits.  The story covers a time when the land was ruled by Indians, to present day.  A lot of it was dedicated to Stephen F. Austin, the recognized founder of the State, and the early days of conflict with Mexico.  There were old vehicles and replicas of all sorts of thing expected to be found in a state museum.   All in all it was quite a nice time. 

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