Calendar of Events

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Upcoming Exhibits

In the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall of Special Exhibitions, the Museum presents exhibitions that explore historical subjects in depth — from Texas music and sports to archaeology and space exploration. The Museum recently converted the 3rd Floor Rotunda Gallery into a space dedicated to the important but little-seen collections and archives of public agencies and institutions across the state. Explore each section below to see what’s coming soon.

The McDonald Observatory: 75 Years of Stargazing - May 1, 2014 - June 29, 2014

The McDonald Observatory: 75 Years of Stargazing

May 1, 2014-June 29, 2014

Third Floor Rotunda Gallery

Otto Struve telescope

Opening in May 2014 in the Third Floor Rotunda of the Bullock Museum in Austin, this anniversary exhibit in partnership with the McDonald Observatory will feature large format graphics of the night sky as seen from one of the darkest places on the planet, hands-on interactives on how telescopes work, and early instruments associated with the Observatory's star-gazing.

Of particular interest is a 1,000 pound model of the Otto Struve telescope currently at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. The telescope model, along with other equipment from the observatory, will be featured with stories of important discoveries, astronomers, and the unique nature of the McDonald Observatory community.

A compelling and easily accessible website and blog hosted by UT, as well as programming that includes a series of "space days" at the museum during the run of the installation are some of the educational materials being planned as part of the Observatory's year-long celebration. The Bullock exhibit installation is one event in a series of celebrations around the state that begin September 1, 2013 and run through August 2014.

This exhibition is made possible by Sophia and G. W. Brock and Michelle K. Brock.

The 1968 Exhibit - June 7, 2014 - September 1, 2014

The 1968 Exhibit

June 7, 2014-September 1, 2014

Herzstein Hall

1968 is one of the most pivotal years in the 20th century. A year filled with significant historical events, revolutionary film, television, and music, and groundbreaking images of earth taken from the Apollo 8 space capsule. The Bullock Texas State History Museum is proud to host The 1968 Exhibit, a focused examination of a single year that shaped the rest of the 20th century and is still relevant today.

The social forces that swirled through the turbulent 1960s crested in 1968. It was a turning point for a generation coming of age and a nation at war. The year saw the peak of the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, riots at the Democratic National convention, assertions of Black Power at the Olympic Games and feminist demonstrations at the Miss America pageant. Hair opened on Broadway, Laugh-In debuted and became the number-one show on TV, Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate picked up Oscars and Johnny Cash gave a legendary performance at Folsom Prison. President Lyndon Johnson spoke of a country "challenged, at home and abroad" in his State of the Union address; his successor Richard Nixon, promised in his nomination acceptance speech that "the long dark night for America is about to end."

The 1968 Exhibit is a traveling exhibit organized by the Minnesota History Center in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. The exhibit is supported by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more about the exhibit see http://the1968exhibit.org/

When Austin Got Weird - July 11, 2014 - September 14, 2014

When Austin Got Weird

July 11, 2014 - September 14, 2014

Third Floor Rotunda Gallery

The slogan "Keep Austin Weird" may have evolved in 2000, but Austin was weird long before. Using music posters from two Austin collections, When Austin Got Weird explores the poster artists and music venues that helped define Austin's counterculture in the 1960s and 70s. From the archives of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Austin History Center, 29 posters have been selected from artists Jim Franklin, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Burns, Micael Priest and others to trace Austin's transformation from a political capital into a music capital. The exhibit is held in conjunction with The 1968 Exhibit in the Herzstein Hall.

La Belle: The Ship That Changed History Special Exhibition - October 25, 2014 - May 17, 2015

La Belle: The Ship That Changed History

Because of the statewide and international significance, Bullock staff is developing a special exhibition featuring artifacts recently conserved and researched, as well as objects familiar to the public from the inaugural exhibition in 2001. The new exhibitions will include a presentation on the ship’s excavation as well, highlighting one of the most important finds of the 20th century. Titled La Belle: The Ship That Changed History, this 7,000 square foot experience will be on view beginning October 25, 2014 in the Bullock Museum's Herzstein Hall and will include the live-action, re-assembly of the original ship's hull by the curator and conservator in full view of visitors. Once assembled, the ship will be moved carefully into position in May 2015 to become the centerpiece of a newly renovated first floor Texas History Gallery. Approximately 100 La Belle artifacts will subsequently travel to France beginning in the Summer of 2015.

Shipwrecked: A4-d Film Experience

To coincide with the installation and enhance the visitor experience, the Museum will offer a new “4D” film, Shipwrecked. Created in collaboration with award-winning production house, Cortina Productions, the film will be on view daily in the Bullock’s popular Texas Spirit Theater, a 4D venue that offers an immersive experience combining the high-drama of 3D with sensory effects built into the seats and environment. Filmed on board one of the few sea-worthy vessels modeled after ships of the 1600s, the film dramatizes the story of La Salle’s venture, revealing the struggles, personalities, and conflicts through the eyes of one of the only survivors of the expedition, Pierre Talon. Pierre’s family was recruited as colonists for the voyage, and at the age of 10, he was separated from his mother and siblings and sent by La Salle to learn the language of the Caddo people in the hopes of establishing trade and facilitating the expedition. Adopted by the tribe, at the age of 14 Pierre was subsequently captured by the Spanish. In the film, he recounts to his captors all that he saw from the moment the ships were setting sail from France.