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Texas history comes to life at annual celebration

By Bianca Montes
Feb. 27, 2014 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 27, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

Caleb Galvez, 6, center, tries on a pair of 1800s-era handcuffs as his classmates Jackson Southern, 6, left, and Jayden Guerreca, 6, right, look on during the "Texas Our Texas" exhibit Thursday at Mitchell Guidance Center. The living history event will continue Friday and Saturday.

Imagine if Texas history could walk right off the pages of textbooks and into our backyard. We'd see camels resting in the sun, pioneers baking cornbread in cast-iron skillets and smell the aroma of freshly ground and roasted coffee brewing in a pot.

The Children's Discovery Museum in downtown Victoria opens its "Texas Our Texas" live history exhibit to the public Saturday.

The event takes place at Mitchell Guidance Center on Commercial Street.

The annual event brings to life the state's heritage to celebrate Texas Independence Day, said museum director Melissa Dixon.

Texas Independence Day is Sunday.

The show has several interactive living displays showing Texas in its pioneer days. Exhibits that feature Victorian fashions, Texas Camel Corps and Badland Texas Rangers transport spectators to the early 1800s.

"When it comes to life, it really sparks the imagination," said museum volunteer Todd Valdes. "It makes (history) a little more real when you're not reading it in a book."

The event opened Thursday to students. Kate Letsinger, 9, of Victoria, took a few minutes to stop and pet a camel at the exhibit.

At the viewing, she learned that the Army used camels in 1850 to assist troops traveling west. The camels, which can carry half their weight, were able to make it through the desert, a task many other animals couldn't do.

The camels passed through Victoria during the summer in 1856, said presenter Doug Baum.

Joella Pickering Smith, of Victoria, said her great-great-aunt actually rode the head camel into Victoria.

At the time, her aunt was an infant, and she rode the camel from the Crescent Valley into town. Her family still owns a silver goblet that was given to her aunt by President Franklin Pierce. Smith will share her story and her baskets full of pioneer games, toys and songs at the exhibit.

"You can really see people in their environment," Dixon said. "The exhibit helps kids with imaginations bring history to life rather than read it in a textbook."



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