The Star of the Republic Museum’s new exhibit “So Others Could Follow: Four Centuries of Maps that Define Texas” will open March 3 with 20 maps spanning three centuries from the most famous cartographers in the world.
The museum is located at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site at 23400 Park Rd 12 in Washington, Texas.
Maps in this exhibit will focus on the ever-changing shape of Texas in the years from the early 1500s through the late 1800s, encompassing the years before it was the Republic of Texas up to the days after it won statehood in the United States and through the Civil War.
Within that time, Texas claimed more than half of New Mexico, the Oklahoma panhandle, the lower left-hand corner of Kansas, large sections of Colorado and even a small part of Wyoming. It is only five years after Texas joined the US that it accepted the boundaries it has today as part of the Compromise of 1850.
“The distinctive shape of Texas is a well-known symbol to millions of people around the world—a shape that was fabricated over hundreds of years by explorers and cartographers,” says Houston McGaugh, museum director. “With each passing year, another river was mapped or another road begun. Fortunately, the Star of the Republic Museum's collection reflects those changes in its four centuries of maps assembled for this exhibit.”
Exhibit highlights include maps that :
--First mention "Tejas" (1721).
--Are executed in decorative German style with a cartouche of warships, and gold being unloaded as American Indians look on (1750).
--Have Daniel Lizars’ map of Mexico and Central America, prior to Mexico's push for independence (1833).
--Identify where the empresario grants were located (1835).
--Depict the Republic of Texas from 1836-1845 when the first Congress of Texas defined this nation’s boundaries and 23 counties; Central America including Texas, California and the northern states of Mexico that depicts towns, villages, forts, roads, trails, swamps, lakes, Indian tribe locations and interesting notes such as "Supposed Petrified Forest" and "Supposed residence of the Aztecs in the 12th century" (1842).
--Illustrate "A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining" by Samuel Augustus Mitchell — described as "one of the most influential maps in Western American History," — showing Texas when admitted to the Union, at the beginning of the U.S.-Mexican war (1846).
The map exhibit — its opening coincides with Washington on the Brazos’ two-day “Texas Independence Day Celebration” March 3-4 — will run for a year.
Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.