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Remembering the Republic
The Huntsville Item
For the past four years, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum has had an exhibit entitled "Flags of the Republic."
Through the showing of re-creations of 11 different flags from the days of the Texas Revolution and the Republic, the exhibit tells the story of Texas' evolution from Mexican territory to American state. Not to be outdone, the story of the exhibit is an interesting one in its own right.
In 1985, Dallas billionaire and two-time presidential candidate H. Ross Perot commissioned the re-creation of 11 different flags from 1835-1845 to be sent to every school region in Texas. Somehow, the copy of the display sent to the Education Service Center, Region VI, which encompasses Huntsville, got lost and was forgotten for more than a decade.
"About four years ago, we got a call from Region VI asking us if we would be interested in an exhibit," said museum director Patrick Nolan.
"(The exhibit) was still in the original crates," Nolan said. "We had no idea what was in there. We thought it was really interesting that it had never been opened."
What Nolan found when the crates were opened astounded him.
"This certainly wasn't cheap," he said.
Each flag is mounted in a glass case which has acid-free mountings and glass that deflects potentially harmful ultraviolet light.
"The system probably costs somewhere between five and ten thousand dollars," Nolan said. "If Mr. Perot did that for every school region in the state, it must have cost him several hundred thousand dollars."
Nolan said each of the re-creations are as close to the originals as could be made possible. "If the original was silk, then it's silk. If the original has a tear in it, the re-creation has a tear in the exact same place," he said.
Nolan believes that, in spite of being lost for a substantial amount of time, the exhibit is now doing what it was intended to do and more.
"We're very happy to have it, and we think it's very appropriate to have it here," he said.
The exhibit, which is displayed between visiting exhibits, will be open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Jan. 31 in the museum's Walker Education Center.
The museum will have two traveling exhibits -- "Invasion Yanqui: The Mexican War" and "Crossroads of Empire: Historic Maps of Texas and the United States"-- on display starting Feb. 1.
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