Notes and Documents
"The Story of Texas"?
The Texas State History Museum and
Forgetting and Remembering the Past
WALTER L. BUENGER*
ON FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2001, I TOURED THE NEW BOB BULLOCK TEXAS
State History Museum for the first time. Accompanying me were my
wife, daughter, son, and one of my son's friends. Each of us reacted in
very different ways to the museum, proving that the place really does
offer something for everyone. For teenagers it offers a few innocent
thrills and a chance to show off their mastery of Texas history trivia.
For younger children there is enough to stave off the cry of "I am bored"
for about an hour. For adults with interest in and knowledge of Texas
history there is sure to be something captivating. For historians the
museum offers a puzzle and a chance to reflect on the making of public
history or memory in the twenty-first century.
Davis Buenger and his friend David Miranda truly enjoyed "The Star of
Destiny" narrated by a larger-than-life Sam Houston. They roared with
laughter when an imitation rattlesnake struck the bottom of their seats
during this technologically sophisticated rendition of the high points of
Texas history. The two thirteen-year-old boys had just completed the sev-
enth grade and taken the required course in Texas history. Having that
wonderful combination of teenage arrogance and massive confidence in
their academic prowess they also enjoyed combing the exhibits for small
errors and delighted in discovering what they considered an overly large
estimate of the number of Texans trapped in the Alamo in 1836.
* Walter L. Buenger, professor of history at Texas A&M University, has written extensively on the
history of Texas and the Amencan South. Among his recent works are The Path to a Modern South:
Northeast Texas Between Reconstructon and the Great Depression (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2oo 1),
and "Texas and the South," Southwestern Histoncal Quarterly, 103 (Jan., 2ooo), 309-326.
VOL. CV, No. 3 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY JANUARY, 2002
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed June 2, 2015.