New Traveling Exhibitions

Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World looks at the remarkable life and achievements of one of America’s most beloved personalities. Besides serving his country as a skillful diplomat and negotiator, Benjamin Franklin was a scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, humorist and philanthropist whose wisdom and wit continue to inspire and entertain us more than three hundred years after his birth. Franklin was dedicated to making the world a better place and himself a better person.  His was the quintessential American success story.  

Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, ca. 1816. Benjamin West. Philadelphia Museum of Art

The ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 ended the woman suffrage movement and represented a great victory for American women in their quest for the right to vote as U.S. citizens. Texas was the first state in the South to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, a landmark moment for all who took place in the struggle for representation. Citizens at Last focuses on the twenty-seven-year campaign for woman suffrage in Texas with panel topics covering the national beginnings of the movement, early Texas leaders, anti-suffrage sentiments, efforts to amend the Texas Constitution, primary suffrage, and, finally, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Suffragists marched with their daughters in the Votes for Women parade in New York City, May 6, 1912. Courtesy Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.  

Through renowned photojournalist James “Spider” Martin's camera and the words of Congressman John Lewis, former head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), March to Freedom follows a determined group of marchers, both black and white, as they tried on three different occasions in March 1965 to take their cause to the steps of the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery. March to Freedom is an exhibition by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin and the LBJ Presidential Library, presented in partnership with Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Alabama state troopers confront the marchers, led by Rev. Hosea Williams and John Lewis. Williams holds his nose in anticipation of tear gas, by James "Spider" Martin. James "Spider" Martin Photographic Archive. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin. © Tracy Martin.

Separated by almost four hundred and fifty miles, the communities represented in this exhibition are the Mennonites of Seminole (West Texas) and the Beachy Amish Mennonites of Lott (Central Texas). Though there have been other Mennonite settlements in Texas in the twentieth century, the Lott and Seminole groups have proven themselves with their longstanding, unceasing presence as well as their continued growth. They have endured because of their tenacity, community strength, and ability to adapt.

Maria Yoder at the Dairy Farm by Susan Gaetz Durate. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

State Fair is a visual distillation of Arthur Grace's photographic odyssey through fairs in ten states—California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. Time and again, regardless of geographical location, Grace's images deftly capture the strange mixture of the traditional, the kitsch, and the off-the-wall that is unique to these annual gatherings, which began as a celebration of rural American life and have evolved into super-sized extravaganzas.

North Carolina State Fair (Raleigh) by Arthur Grace, 2003. Riders get bird's-eye view of fairgrounds on the Wave Swinger. The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen significant hurricane activity along the Gulf Coast. In 2010, five years after Hurricane Rita, the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur initiated the Hurricane Retrospective Project, an effort to document the recent history of hurricanes in the southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast region.

Causeway Pier after Hurricane Ike, by Melissa Hawkins.

In the early 1970s, Bill Wittliff was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to visit a ranch in northern Mexico where the vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways. Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about daily chores that had changed little since the first Mexican cowherders learned to work cattle from a horse's back. Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy features sixty-two digital carbon prints with bilingual narrative text that reveal the muscle, sweat, and drama that went into roping a calf in thick brush or breaking a wild horse in the saddle.

Photograph by Bill Wittliff, 1971.