The summer is always a busy at the Briscoe Center, as we begin to gear up for our fall semester initiatives. Right now that means preparing for the roll out of two digital projects (one related to journalist Dan Rather and the other to former Texas governor Bill Clements) and making selections for our main fall exhibit, which will be on civil rights photography. We’re also working on a number of new collection acquisitions, the details of which we’ll share in the September and October e-newsletters.
In early November, the civil rights photography exhibit will replace Exploring the American South. Additionally, we’ll be updating From Commemoration to Education, digitizing the majority of documents on display in order to create more space for temporary exhibits. During the summer we’re open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, excluding holidays. The summer also offers one last opportunity to visit Deep in the Vaults, on display at the LBJ Presidential Library. Deep in the Vaults is a university-wide collaboration that features a number of items from the Briscoe Center’s collections. It’s open until September 6.
In addition to work on the civil rights exhibit and our digital projects, center staff are assisting with preparations for the American Association for State and Local History conference. The center is a premier sponsor of the event, with staff members on the host and program committees. As part of the program, the center will provide a walking tour of the university’s historical monuments. The conference represents a great opportunity to showcase the center’s new public spaces to a national audience as well as making connections with archives, libraries and museums leaders from across the country. You can find out more about the conference here: http://bit.ly/1gCnuo7.
The Briscoe Center’s divisions are also enjoying a busy summer. The Briscoe-Garner Museum in Uvalde had a well-attended July 4th open house, which featured artifacts from the Whitney Smith Flag Research Center Collection as well as a quilt that was partly sewn by astronaut Dr. Karen Nyberg while she was on board the International Space Station. The quilt was donated to the center last year. I’m delighted to say that in addition to the materials we preserve from across America and around the world, the center’s collections have now expanded to the final frontier!
Over at Winedale Historical Complex, renovation work has been completed at the Lewis Wagner House. Repair of wood beams, sub-floor, wainscoting and banisters was complimented by painting and landscaping. Renovation work will continue during the fall across the complex, in part thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Winedale. Finally, staff at the Sam Rayburn Museum are busy planning and organizing for the museum’s 60th anniversary in October.
Earlier in June, the center hosted a book signing in Santa Fe for our newest publication, Eddie Adams: Bigger Than the Frame, which is drawn exclusively from the Adams Photographic Archive, which was donated to the center by Alyssa Adams in 2009. I’m grateful to Alyssa for her role in helping us create the book and for joining us in Santa Fe. Finally, I’m pleased to see that the university has brought out a free digital edition of The Collections, a book published last year by UT Press that features many of the Briscoe Center’s most important artifacts. You can read online or download the book here: http://bit.ly/2r2vXtX.
Don Carleton, Ph.D.
J. R. Parten Chair in the Archives of American History