Bullock Texas State History Museum

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1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX, USA

Bullock Texas State History Museum Austin Reviews

vances vances
542 reviews
Lone Star Legacy Oct 15, 2016
A relatively new installation for Austin (opened 2001), I was a bit perplexed by the museum’s focus. The pair of keynote exhibits occupying the entire first floor dwelt upon Nazi propaganda and the recovery of a wrecked ship attempting to deliver French immigrants around 1650.

At least the shipwreck had been salvaged off the Texas coastline. But there were no survivors, implying a net impact upon Texas history at zero. Thus I struggled to appreciate why this display occupied more space than any other within the museum. Nazi propaganda was runner up for square footage of any single installation and it caused me to feel disrespectful as I began hurrying through the litany of displays. Yes, a worthy topic, but I had paid admission to a “Texas History” museum and almost an hour later I had not glimpsed any cowboys, oil wells or anything else remotely connected to the Lone Star State???

Thankfully the sidestepping of Texas on the ground floor ended there. The second and third floors of this huge building would be entirely devoted to Texas and I would be happily awash in the Alamo, wildcatters, cowboys and Indians for the remainder of my visit. This really big state encompasses so much and I was impressed the Bullock Museum was up to the task of locking the bull by the horns, so to speak.

Exhibits were nicely done, artfully engaging visitors to learn about the state. There were several mini-theaters playing endless loops of five to ten minute short features highlighting various topics. While I do not expect any of these to be nominated for an Oscar, they were informational and simultaneously entertaining. To demonstrate the range, here are three which I watched:

- testimony of the sole Texan surviving the Alamo (he had been dispatched to seek reinforcements)

- highlights of Austin City Limits, a wonderful chronological sequence featuring so many astonishing musical performances across the years

- “Texas in the Movies”. Predicated upon a somewhat faulty premise (i.e., they seemed to believe Texas was the driver for the entire genre of Western movies), this was a really fun visit to yee-haw’s on the silver screen.

Most Texas icons were well covered. I had utterly forgotten about NASA’s presence (“Houston, we have landed”), but Bullock does a nice job of capturing the relevance of this agency and its contributions. One facet which surprised me was the depth and variety of farming enterprises here. Before my visit to Bullock I never realized just how big agriculture is in Texas, nor how many failed attempts had been made to make it even bigger.


The one place where the ball was dropped regards Texas Rangers. In my opinion this is a notable institution of the state which no self-respecting museum dedicated to Texas should overlook. At the same time I recognize personal bias due to living in Waco, where the Texas Ranger Museum offers loving coverage to this unique and distinguished group. But still, there is all of that space on the ground floor which has nothing to do with Texas.....
Here we are!
The Bullock Museum - presenting th…
Looking up - there are three level…
Once you get above the ground floo…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Zagnut66 says:
I did not see any Nazi in your photos.
Posted on: Feb 20, 2017
joseph98 says:
Curious as to why Texas Rangers were overlooked as well...certainly something even I, a Brit who has never been to Texas, associate with the place! Seems odd that so much space was given over to Nazi propaganda instead...still, good to know it was an enjoyable experience overall.
Posted on: Feb 19, 2017
Vikram says:
Nice museum, looks like it wasn't boll*cks after all!
Posted on: Feb 19, 2017
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