Texas Constitution among 25 Texas “Treasures” on display at LBJ library

Quanit Ali

This past weekend, the LBJ Presidential Library displayed Texas’ most historically significant and valuable treasures at a special exhibit titled “25 Years/25 Treasures.”

The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, a nationally recognized research institution, donated items for the exhibit, which is aimed at educating people by allowing them access to a historically rich area, free of cost. 

“One of the most interesting parts of the LBJ Library … is that because we’re free, lots of people come here who would normally wouldn’t,” said Anne Wheeler,
communications director for the LBJ Library.

Among the many artifacts displayed were the Texas Declaration of Independence and a letter detailing the last moments of David Crockett’s life. The letter described how, in Crockett’s last moments, he was executed instead of the commonly held belief that he died fighting. Many documents inside the exhibit shared the similar characteristic of providing insight into pivotal moments in Texas’ history.

The LBJ Library worked in coordination with the Briscoe Center to produce an exhibit for visitors of all ages. The exhibit featured a treasure hunt in which children explored the exhibit and educated themselves on each object to receive a prize.

“They can learn about history, learn about early explorers, the civil rights movement, and then they get a prize for coming,” Wheeler said.

A unique aspect of the exhibit was that most of the objects displayed aren’t normally available to archivists at the Briscoe Center, making for an exclusive viewing.

“It doesn’t sit out in the open, even we don’t see all this stuff most of the time,” said Jennifer Allen, a School of Information graduate student and video game archive intern. “It’s really interesting to see history firsthand and not have to rely on some else’s experiences.”

The exhibit was structured around educating the attendants but also followed an important theme of helping them understand how history relates to the world today. For example, a letter written by Jane McCallum, a Texas suffragist, described the struggles of balancing a promising work life with familial obligations.

“Well, they’re historical objects, but they also help us understand the political climate of time. We have letters from James Farmer detailing the civil rights movement,” said processing archivist Collen Hobbs.

The exhibit is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the LBJ Library and will be open through Jan. 16, 2017.