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Making Texas history come alive

By Erin Pradia
March 26, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 25, 2011 at 10:26 p.m.

Black Wolf,of San Antonio, plays a flute used in ceremonies by the Apache as he demonstrates the melodic sounds to school children attending the Children's Discovery  Museum Texas tour.

The children listened in rapt silence as Doug Baum from Texas Camels Corp. told them about how camels were used in Texas History - especially here in Victoria. The students also saw clothes, blankets and ropes made from camel fur and got to pet and sit on the camels.

"There are over 300 years of history that originated here in Victoria, Texas," Baum told children at the Children's Discovery Museum's fourth annual "Texas Our Texas" living history display at the Mitchell Guidance Center. "It is like living in an Indiana Jones movie."

Cathy Lowe, former executive director of the Children's Discovery Museum, began the living history demonstration to make history come alive for the students at local schools.

"How many kids are going to get to see a camel in person, go up and touch it?" said Paige Gedvillas, museum manager at the Children's Discovery Museum. "It's like a history book come to life."

Baum told students how in addition to horses, U.S. troops used camels as pack animals during transportation to keep people from dying of dehydration.

The camels used all across Texas were imported through the Indianola port and were brought through Victoria before being distributed.

"It looks like a Mohawk!" one child exclaimed while running his fingers through the camel's hair.

"Riding a camel is one of the funnest things I've ever done," said 10-year-old Danielle. "He stores more than a human can in his fat!"

Students also observed a Texas Ranger campsite, complete with tents and a fold out cupboard. The Texas Rangers Living History group showed the students a sample of a ranger's saddle bag containing everything he would need to survive including handcuffs, a coffee pot, dried meat and a set of plates and cups.

"When the Rangers originated in 1823 until about 1870, their goal was to keep the Indians and the bandits away from the settlers," said Jerry Martin, from the official Living History group for the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame Museum in Waco. "After about 1874, they dealt more with outlaws. In modern days, they still try to prevent human trafficking, bank robbing and other thefts."

Native American Indians and the Buffalo Rangers presented hands-on representations of tools, guns, food preparation, toys and musical instruments from life in 1820s.

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