Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Museum of the Big Bend

I've spent a lot of time in the Big Bend region of Texas in the last 20 years or so. When I worked for Region 18 Education Service Center in Midland, Texas, I routinely visited the 30+ schools in our assigned area, especially those in the Big Bend region. After all the time I've spent in the area, I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that I had never visited the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, Texas. On our recent trip to the Davis Mountains, I corrected that oversight.

Main entrance to Museum of the Big Bend on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas
The museum is located on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, home to  just over 2000 undergraduates. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are appreciated. The museum is staffed by some very friendly and helpful West Texas folks who will make you feel right at home.

As museums go, it is not very large. However, the exhibits are well done, and they are designed to introduce visitors to the distinctive natural history, human history and confluence of cultures in the Big Bend region. One notable exhibit during our visit was the Big Bend Plein Air exhibit. En plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air” and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. The Plein Air paintings currently on display were produced by the Plein Air Painters of the Four Corners region (the area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet).

The museum is a great place to start off a tour of the Big Bend region as it will introduce visitors to the history and culture of the area. Flash photography is not allowed, so some of my pictures may seem a bit dark.

Replica of a carreta such as was used not only in the Big Bend region but in many areas of the American Southwest

Chuck wagon display.
Plein Air Exhibit
Buffalo Soldier Exhibit

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