By Danielle Anthony
The ranches of Texas have survived due to their adaptability and the dedication of the families who built them. They keep their legacies and have been preserved through innovation, devotion, and persistence. A new exhibit, “The Legacy of Ranching: Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future” is on display through Jan. 7, 2018, at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Providing an educational background on the history of the livestock industry and the shaping of Texas, the exhibit emphasizes historic Texas ranches that have persevered into modern day. Topics such as agribusiness, ranch commodities, imports, Animal Science at Texas A&M, and the other business ventures that have led to the success of these ranches are explored.
David Anaya, director of marketing and communications for the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, explains, “When you think of Texas, you think of ranching. There’s been a lot of diversification in agribusiness with the discovery of oil and gas and the successful business ventures of the people who built historic Texas ranches.”
The exhibit highlights both the people who have kept the ranches alive and the decisions they made to get the ranches where they are today. Museum guests will see the historic accomplishments of significant people, as well as a look into the future of Texas ranches.
A unique aspect of the exhibit is that it is in chronological order, showing how ranches have evolved since their beginnings. Through hands-on displays, interactive media, historical objects, and video oral histories, the exhibit provides a new perspective on Texas ranching. Viewers will be able to interact with displays through touch screens and historic videos.
The exhibit provides an “old West feel” says Anaya. From wooden fences to various iron brands hanging from the ceiling, the exhibit “takes people back in time, showing them how it would have looked and how it would have been,” according to Anaya. There is a saddle at the entrance to the museum, donated by Capital Farm Credit, that provides a photo opportunity and an old “ranch feel” to the atmosphere.
Anaya hopes the public gains new knowledge about the history of Texas and ranching. “With ranching they also learn a history of Texas itself — how this one aspect that has been so important to the state of Texas has evolved,” he says. “They will not just learn about the past, but about the future of this industry that has been pretty essential in the state for a couple hundred years.”
The exhibit, “The Legacy of Ranching: Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future,” is on display in the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum through Jan. 7, 2018. Tickets are free to students from Texas A&M University and Blinn College. General admission tickets are $9. Tickets must be purchased at the front desk.