One of my co-workers recently told me about a Saturday that he and his wife spent downtown playing tourist, and he reminded me about a great museum I haven’t been to in several years, as well as one of my favorite downtown restaurants. I asked him to contribute a guest post to my Blog, and here it is:
Submitted by Richard House (Guest Blogger)
My wife and I recently decided to spend a day downtown playing tourist, and we ended up spending half of it at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The museum was originally part of HemisFair ’68 as the Texas Pavilion, and is one of the few exhibits from the 1968 fair that has remained as a permanent fixture on the former fair grounds. When I think of Texan Cultures, I recall my middle school Texas history class and think of the six national flags that have flown over what is now the state of Texas, but this museum reminds me that there is a lot more cultural diversity in the state than just the familiar “Six Flags Over Texas”.
The main exhibits of the museum are all on one floor, which is divided into sections for the various cultures that have influenced the development of the state. Each area is filled with artifacts, photographs and narrative discussions of the history of the immigrations and contributions of the various cultures and individuals.
The first exhibit you encounter on entering covers prehistoric humans that are thought to have inhabited various parts of what is now Texas, followed by the several Native American tribes that were encountered by the first European settlers. Other exhibits describe the many cultures that have come together to make Texas what it is today, including: English, Irish, Scotch, Hungarian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, African-American, Jewish, Czech, German, Wendish, Italian, Swiss, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, Belgian, Dutch, Greek, French, Lebanese and Tejano.
After several hours at the museum, it was time for lunch so we took a 10-minute walk to Schilo’s Delicatessen at the corner of Commerce and S. Alamo St. If you are a visitor to San Antonio and have had your fill of our famous Mexican Food and Bar-B-Que, give Schilo’s a try. I had a cup of split pea soup, wiener-schnitzel and German potato salad, and my wife had a pastrami sandwich. Shilo’s is also famous for its homemade root beer. Everything was freshly made and delicious, and a great example of the influence of German immigrants in Texas.
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