Texas Heritage Museum
The Texas Heritage Museum's mission is "To explore Texas and Texans during wartime and how those experiences affect us today." This mission statement is divided into two parts. Part one of the mission states "To explore Texas and Texans during wartime…," and the Texas Heritage Museum showcases Texans in war. The second part of the mission states "…how those experiences affect us today," and the museum tries to concisely capture the visitors’ experiences with its exhibits and programs. An example of this are quotes and stories that museum visitors have placed in our Vietnam journal located in the Vietnam War and Texans' Involvement Exhibit Gallery. I have included the following entry from this journal:
“South of the Parrots Beak, in the plain of reeds in the Mekong Delta, I captured a wounded North Vietnamese soldier. In his leather pouch, he had a picture of his mother, father and girlfriend or wife. Also, a drawing of a rocket and the moon. It was July 1969, our first landing on the moon. I thought, here we are - 2 lieutenants, he fighting for Ho Chi Minh and me fighting for LBJ, with mothers & fathers & wives with a similar interest, the moon landing. He died. I cried."
-1st Lieutenant Larry Bulaich, Fort Worth Texas.
As this Vietnam veteran went through this gallery, he felt and relived his own pain, and went right back to this very moment during the Vietnam War while he was writing his entry into the exhibit journal.
For others it brings the war to such a different personal level. During 7th grade school tours, I usually pick one student out of the tour group to read this quote out loud to their classmates. While this quote is being read, the gallery becomes really quiet every time. Why, you might ask? Today, most 7th graders’ grandparents and the school teachers’ parents were the generation who fought and gave sacrifices during the Vietnam War. The school groups’ thinking starts to deepen, and I hear "my dad or grandfather died in this war,” and “how painful for our human race to be at such odds and yet also be so similar." These experiences are real, and this is what makes visiting the Texas Heritage Museum so unique.
I look forward to you visiting the Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College!
Dean of the Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College
President of the Association of Academic Museums & Galleries