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Austin History Center, Grand Hallway

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

In 2007 the Austin History Center began to expand its exhibits program. Today the exhibits program has grown from an ancillary aspect of the AHC to part of its core services. But exhibits in an archive present particular challenges.  Unlike a museum that specializes in collecting three-dimensional artifacts, most of the materials come in a more two-dimensional format – letters and papers and photographs. Yet this difference can also be a great strength. Because these are primary sources, they allow for a greater degree of detail and precision in telling a historical narrative. Also, depending upon the interests of the researcher, the kinds of information that can be extracted from historical documents is virtually endless. From these primary sources a researcher can truly get into the nitty-gritty of history, and our exhibits over the past nine years have sought to bring forward this aspect of our local history. If you have never visited us before, we hope this taste of our past exhibits inspires you to return. And for those who have become familiar with some of the exhibits we’ve mounted already, we hope this sampling reminds you of how incredibly interesting and nuanced local history can be.

Past Exhibits Featured Include:

5x5y: 25 Years of SWSW Music (Opened - Spring 2011)

Austin Americana: The Neal Douglass Photography Collection (Opened - Fall 2008)

Backwards in High Heels: Getting Women Elected, 1842-1990 (Opened - Winter 2014)

Building a Community: The First 100 Years of African American Life in Travis County (Opened - Fall 2012)

Divided City: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Austin (Opened - Winter 2015)

History by Hand: Selections from the Papers of Governor E.M. and Lucadia Pease (Opened - Spring 2008)

How to Prepare a Possum: 19th Century Cuisine in Austin (Opened - Spring 2013)

Mexican American Firsts: Trailblazers of Austin and Travis County (Opened - Summer 2010)

Making the Grade: Austin's First Public Schools (Opened - Fall 2015)

Not a Museum: An Exhibit About the Value of Archives (Opened - Summer 2009)

Pioneers from the East: The First Chinese Families in Austin (Opened - Spring 2010)

Relief Recovery and Progress: The Great Depression and the New Deal in Austin (Opened - Winter 2010)

Sounding Together: 100 Years of the Austin Symphony (Opened - Fall 2011)

The First Picture Shows: Austin's Historic Moviehouses (Opened - Spring 2012)

Vietnam to Austin: Resotring Community (Opened - Spring 2009)