Bell County Museum
I went to The Belton County Museum located on 201 N. Main St. Belton, Texas 76513. The museum’s hours of operation are noon to 5:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday. There are several different memberships available at the museum. Memberships range in different variety from $10 for students to $1000+ for associate members. Benefits for becoming a member are discounts at museum bookstore, invitations to special events, and preserving Bell County and Central Texas history. In February, the museum will be showing Dorothea Lange's ‘America Exhibit.’ Highlights from this show are oversized exhibition prints of her seminal portraits from the Great Depression. Two exhibits I enjoyed at the museum were ‘The Gault Site’ and ‘The Passport tThrough Time.’
The permanent exhibit, t ‘The Gault Site,’ provides the highlights of the discoveries in Florence, TX. The site is an ecotone, a boundary zone of two ecozones. It is located in the Balcones Ecotone (the boundary zone of the Edwards Plateau and the Black Prairie and Coastal Plain Ecozone). The Gault Site has been home to human beings for over 13,000 years. What I learned was how the Paleoindians survived at the site by hunting deer and bison with bows and arrows, using earth ovens for cooking large quantities of edible plants, and adapting to environment changes by using different tools and finding other sources.
The exhibit had many tools and artifacts of the paleoindians way of life and information of what is continuing at the Gault Site. One piece I thought was very interesting was The Temple Tusk. On April 2, 2010 John Jackson, a member of the Gault School of Archaeological Research, found a blocky tusk buried in the sediment of Pepper Creek, a shallow stream near Temple. I liked this piece because it dates Texas and provides evidence that there was a unique way of life across America, especially close to home, before it was discovered by Europeans.
The next exhibit I enjoyed at the museum was ‘The Passport tThrough Time.’ This exhibit focuses on the historical journey of Bell County through different types of people, places, and events that created it. I observed in detail that how Native American life, the Anglo establishment (1821-1835), and Texas Independence (1836-1845) were significant steps into the establishingment of Bell County on January 22, 1850. The exhibit also portrays the relationships of Bell County to the Southern way of life, the spirit of the West, and the state to national history. There were many pictures and documents from the Civil War and Reconstruction Era (1861- 1876) that had an effect on Bell County. I learned that a man named Robert B. Halley moved to Salado in 1853 and became the Bell County Commissioner in 1859, a delegate at the State Democratic Convention, and part of a small Indian fighting group called the “Rangers.” He was recruited and served as a Captain of a volunteer Calvary in the Civil War. After the Civil War, Halley was elected Bell County Sheriff in 1874. I thought this was interesting because even the people of Bell County lived through the effects of the Civil War at in the place that I call home. I learned from one of the displays in the exhibit that Miriam Amanda “Ma” Ferguson, the first female Governor of Texas, attended Salado College (which I did not know existed till until my visit to the museum) and University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. Following, I learned that Fort Hood in 1942 was a tank destroyer training center during World War II. This had an effect on defeating the Germans and shaped the social and economic development of Killeen and surrounding areas.
One piece I thought was eye-catching was a letter written in Hitler’s personal study. Bell County native, Harry Bowden, wrote to his cousin on the official stationary of Adolph Hitler while sitting at the Fűührer’s desk. Bowden was one of the first troops to enter Hitler’s personal study in Munich at the close of