Museum Tours Provide Educational Summer Experience
The inside of the rotunda at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum is cool and quiet, voices of visitors echoing off the domed ceiling, giving the museum dedicated to the life of Gen. Sam Houston a reverent atmosphere. Venture farther into the museum, and one finds it is chock full of pieces that reveal a fascinating glimpse into the general’s life.
For more than a century, the museum has served as a center for education and information about Sam Houston’s life and the role he plays in Huntsville and Texas history as a vibrant part of both the city and the university.
|This replica of the kitchen that was on Gen. Sam Houston's property is located where museum officials think the original was located. It was entirely hand built without the help of any modern, 20th century tools.|
History buffs, Texans and their children, or other Huntsville visitors can explore this monument to the state’s first president and seventh governor under the guidance of one of the museum’s experts though the summer tour program.
From June 1 until Aug. 31, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum’s education department offers guided tours Tuesday thru Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the public.
“We have a lot of artifacts and things that relate to the Houston family, as well as Sam himself,” said museum director Mac Woodward. “We are very interested in talking not just about Sam Houston and his history but also the historical contribution of his wife Margaret and their eight children.”
Tours begin at the Katy & E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center with a short video, then move out to the historic grounds, and end at the main museum. Large groups are welcomed as well by advanced registration.
Taking to the museum grounds, visitors can see how Gen. Sam Houston and his family lived by exploring his Steamboat House, where Houston died; the Woodland Home Houston built himself; Houston’s law office; and the Bear Bend Cabin, where Houston would stay when he frequently hunted.
Among the features of these historic residences are Houston family home furniture and clothing, a working kitchen, and a restored and rebuilt period kitchen.
The grounds also include a walking trail, a blacksmith shop and a museum shop, named Wigwam Neosho after the trading post he owned and operated.
|The Steamboat House, on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds, was built in 1858 by Rufus Bailey as a wedding present for his son. After his son refused to live there, the Houstons moved into the house in 1862. —Photos by Brian Blalock|
In addition, guests can sit by Lake Oolooteka—the pond named after Sam Houston’s adoptive Cherokee father and designed in the shape of Texas—and watch or feed the ducks, geese, turtles and fish that reside on the grounds.
Admission is $4 for adults; $3 for senior citizens and SHSU faculty and staff, with an ID; $2 for children ages 6-18; free for children under 6, SHSU students with an ID, and Friends of the Museum. Group rates are available for $3 for 15 or more people. Tours are included with admission cost.
In addition, free admission is offered to active duty, National Guard, reserve military personnel and their immediate families (up to five people) through Sept. 5.
The Sam Houston Memorial Museum is located at the corner of Sam Houston Avenue and 19th Street in Huntsville. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information on guided tours, call 936.294.4895.
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