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  • The Alamo: A Story Bigger than Texas
  • Dora Guerra
"The Alamo: A Story Bigger than Texas." Designed by Drew Patterson Studios, Austin. Permanent exhibit at the Alamo Complex, San Antonio, Texas. Organized and funded by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, with funding from the R. J. and H. C. Kleberg Foundation, the Janis and Barrow Fund, The Disney Corporation, Campbell Foods, USAA, The McCombs Foundation, Mr. Fess Parker, and the Van Meter Trust.

"The Alamo: A Story Bigger than Texas" is a new and permanent exhibit in the Long Barrack Museum that was inaugurated on October 5, 2005, in celebration of one hundred years of custodianship by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

With the objective to inform the 2.5 million visitors who come from all over the world each year, Dr. Bruce Winders, Alamo curator and historian, has written a story that takes the events that occurred at the Alamo out of the incidental and [End Page 436] into the greater historical context where they belong. For clarity, he divided the exhibit into five chronological sections: The Spanish period, which includes the Alamo as a mission protected by the military; the Mexican Independence period; the period of colonization from the United States; the Texas Revolution; and the post-revolution period, in which awareness of the important role that the Daughters of the Republic of Texas have played in the rescue, preservation, and custodianship of the Alamo is presented.

By means of these chronological sections Winders's story takes visitors along the Alamo's journey from its early beginnings to the present day in a way that does not leave them in doubt about how one period led to the other and about the political reasons that overshadowed and caused the several transitions, transformations and confrontations that took place.

For the first time at the Long Barrack Museum the public gets a comprehensive picture of the role that the battle of the Alamo had upon the histories of the United States and of Mexico. It shows how the various pivotal moments influenced the course of their respective histories, and demonstrates how the battle of the Alamo was an important catalyst that forevermore changed the geography and the maps of two nations, and demonstrates that the Alamo's story is indeed "A Story Bigger than Texas."

Grants for the project came from foundations that included the R. J. and H. C. Kleberg Foundation, the Janis Barrow Fund, Disney, Campbell Foods, USAA, the McCombs Foundation, Mr. Fess Parker, The Van Meter Trust, plus upwards of 49 percent provided by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, culminating in a budget of $500,000.

Drew Patterson, head of Drew Patterson Studios of Austin, was selected to design and install the exhibit. He brought to the project a very respectable cadre of successful achievements. As graphic designer for the new exhibit at the Long Barrack it was his task to take Winders's words and to translate them into a graphic narrative that would engage and inform a public that often comes equipped with only John Wayne's version of what happened at the Alamo, or with no clue at all of its story. Patterson, aided by a crew of experienced and talented associates, successfully achieved the undertaking.

Entrance to the building is preceded by a shady, twelve-foot-wide veranda that is created by an arcade typical of Spanish/Moorish architecture that is reminiscent of the building's Spanish mission days. Appropriately, it is here that the story of the Alamo's Spanish period begins to unfold on large enamel text panels that have been mounted on the exterior limestone walls. Alongside there are bright ceiling to floor banners with text that inform visitors of mission days and that throughout the rest of the exhibit also serve to move the viewers from one historical period to another.

Inside, the story of the Alamo continues to unfold along the 178-foot length of the building in seamless glass cases filled with original artifacts that give visitors tangible evidence of the societies and of the ways of life of which the Alamo was a part. The artifacts, some of...


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pp. 436-438
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