Press Release

For Immediate Release 

 

A More Complete Story of Texas: The Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio

 

Opened in 1968 as the Texas Exhibits Hall, the Institute of Texan Cultures is the state’s leading resource on multicultural education. Its exhibit floor features more than 20 cultures that emigrated to Texas and contributed to the state’s cultural identity. The museum’s fall 2013 schedule includes two Smithsonian traveling exhibits, “Native Words, Native Warriors” and “Ramp it Up.”

 

This neon flag is a mainstay at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The icon has been seen across the state and around the world. At 11 feet tall, it greets every visitor who comes inside. Courtesy, Institute of Texan Cultures

 

A panoramic view featuring a section of the exhibit floor at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The main exhibit floor features more than 20 cultures that emigrated to Texas and contributed to its cultural identity. Image courtesy of Michael Sidoric, Institute of Texan Cultures volunteer

 

San Antonio, Texas (October 7, 2013) - In 1965, Texas began one of the most comprehensive efforts a state has ever undertaken to discover its heritage. Governor John Connally commissioned the Institute of Texan Cultures to assemble stories and artifacts for the Texas Exhibits Hall at HemisFair 1968, a World’s Fair in San Antonio.
 
Researchers scoured the state, discovering the ethnic roots of communities from the swampy Big Thicket in the east, to the deserts in the west, south to the Rio Grande and north into the Panhandle. Their work told the story of Texas’ diverse heritage to more than three million people when HemisFair opened on April 6, 1968.
 
Renamed the Institute of Texan Cultures and reopened as a permanent museum the ITC has been the state’s leading resource on multicultural education for 45 years.
 
Where this museum differs from others is that it isn’t about art or artifacts; it’s about people and how they live. The main exhibit floor presents more than 20 cultures and traveling exhibits create an opportunity to focus on specific aspects of culture, such as art, textiles, and mythology. Other temporary exhibits have concentrated on unique, small cultures, such military units, football teams, or newly emerging Texas populations, such as the Somali Bantu.
 
Fall 2013 brings two major exhibits and accompanying family activities to the Institute of Texan Cultures: “Native Words, Native Warriors” and “Ramp it Up,” both from the Smithsonian.

 

The Institute of Texan Cultures celebrates the Chinese New Year with the Asian Festival. The event welcomes the entire Asian community, from China and the Asian continent, to the Indian sub-continent, to the islands of the Pacific, to celebrate their heritage with the people of Texas. Image courtesy Institute of Texan Cultures.

 

Native Words, Native Warriors, Oct. 19 – Dec. 29
“Native Words, Native Warriors,” developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, tells the story of soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who used their Native languages in the service of the U.S. military.
 
Through oral histories taken from the veterans themselves, “Native Words” celebrates and honors this important but little-reported aspect of American history. The exhibition includes videos examining the development of the code, battlefield experiences and the sharp turnaround many of them experienced as they transitioned from Indian boarding schools where they were punished for speaking their Native language to using it as their call to duty for their country.
 
Family day, scheduled for Oct. 19, includes a lecture from expert Dr. William Meadows, to speak on the Code Talkers – American Indians who used their language to securely communicate across the battlefield. San Antonio’s American Indian community will perform ceremonies honoring the nation’s flag and veterans. Puzzle and code challenges will give visitors a chance to get hands-on with Code Talker experiences.
 
Ramp it Up, Nov. 2 – Jan. 5
Skateboarding is one of the most popular sports on Indian reservations, and has inspired and influenced American Indian and Native Hawaiian communities since the 1960s. A new exhibition from the Smithsonian, together with the National Museum of the American Indian, celebrates the vibrancy, creativity and history of American Indian skateboarding culture.
 
“Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America” features 20 skate decks, including examples from Native companies and contemporary artists, rare images and video of Native skaters. A locally produced student exhibit, “Ramp it Up: Texas Style,” featuring San Antonio’s MacArthur High School skate-board club’s deck art, will accompany the exhibit.
 
Ramp it Up family day, Nov. 16, will include a visit from X-Games skater and University of Texas at San Antonio student Will Flores. Two UTSA professors have studied footage of Will’s tricks and will analyze the forces at work in their video, “SK8-FZX” – Skate Physics. The first 50 attendees will receive “Tech Decks,” finger-sized skateboards they can use at the museum’s Tech Deck skate park. Additional activities, such as music and art projects are scheduled.

 

 

 

The Texas Folklife Festival, scheduled for June 7 & 8, 2014, is the signature event at the Institute of Texan Cultures. San Antonio Pipes & Drums, a Scottish organization, leads off a parade through the festival grounds. Courtesy, Institute of Texan Cultures

 

Spring 2014
The New Year at the Institute of Texan Cultures starts Feb. 1, with the Chinese New Year and annual Asian Festival. A San Antonio tradition for more than 25 years, the one-day event invites visitors to join the cultures of China, the Indian sub-continent and the islands of the Pacific, for a day of authentic food, music, dance, entertainment, and martial arts demonstrations.
 
Lion Dancers parade around the grounds, and dignitaries welcome participants and guests, for the New Year celebration. Around the grounds, a guest might find a demonstration of Japanese swordsmanship, the classic art of Bonsai, the sounds of daiko drums, and unique gifts like silk robes.
 
Later in the spring, the museum prepares for another San Antonio celebration: Fiesta, the 10 days surrounding April 21, when Texas won its independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. With more than 100 years of history and tradition, Fiesta is an opportunity to embrace San Antonio’s identity.
 
The museum will display “Hats Off to Fiesta!” highlighting over-the-top headgear some party-goers wear at Fiesta events.  Other exhibit components include a 2014 “Medal Mania” sash, displaying medals from 2014 Fiesta royalty and events; and a photo tribute to the San Antonio Conservation Society’s festival, Night in Old San Antonio.
 
As summer draws closer, the Institute of Texan Cultures prepares for its signature event, the Texas Folklife Festival. The festival offers a menu of nearly150 unique and authentic food items from a variety of cultures. The 2014 celebration of culinary culture is June 7 and 8.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures is an ideal destination for anyone planning a trip to San Antonio. The stories presented through its exhibits and events give a more complete picture of Texas by telling the stories of the people who built the state as it is known today.
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located at 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd, near the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and Tower of the Americas, a short walk from the Alamo and River Walk. Hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday; noon – 5 p.m. Sunday. Current exhibits, events and more information are available at TexanCultures.com or by phone, 210-458-2300.
 
www.TexanCultures.com
Facebook.com/InstituteofTexanCultures
Twitter.com/TexanCultures
 
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located in HemisFair Park, where San Antonio hosted a World’s Fair, HemisFair 1968. For more than 40 years, the museum has been a leader in diversity education across the state. Image courtesy of the Institute of Texan Cultures  

 

 Contact & Media Visits  

 

Media Contact: James Benavides, Senior Communications Specialist

Email: James.Benavides@utsa.edu

Phone: (210) 458-2237

 

Institute of Texan Cultures

UTSA HemisFair Park Campus
801 East César E. Chávez Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78205-3209
W. (210) 458-2237 C. (210) 347-9786

Web: www.texancultures.com

 

 

 Condensed Version  

 

A More Complete Story of Texas: The Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas - Opened in 1968 as the Texas Exhibits Hall, the Institute of Texan Cultures is the state’s leading resource on multicultural education. Its exhibit floor features more than 20 cultures that emigrated to Texas and contributed to the state’s cultural identity. The museum’s fall 2013 schedule includes two Smithsonian traveling exhibits, “Native Words, Native Warriors” and “Ramp it Up,” with associated family day activities. Spring 2014 includes the Asian Festival, San Antonio’s citywide Fiesta celebration and the museum’s signature Texas Folklife Festival. www.TexanCultures.com

 

 

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