Museum of South Texas History - Edinburg, Texas
On a rainy, cold, and windy day we needed to find something to do inside and luckily we found the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg. The museum features very interesting and unique exhibits on the history of the Rio Grande Valley, as well as the rest of South Texas and Northern Mexico. You'll take a trip through time from the days of the dinosaurs in South Texas to life in Rio Grande Valley today - and its a very informative and well done trip!
The Museum opened in 1970 as the Hidalgo Country Historical Museum in what was the 1910 Hidalgo Country Jail and is now considered the largest historical museum in the region. What makes this Museum so interesting is its unique collection of historically significant objects and archival material pertaining to the heritage of the borderlands of South Texas and northeastern Mexico. The interpretation of this collection "is presented in state-of-the-art exhibitions that offer an educational, enlightening, and enchanting experience to visitors of all ages."
From the minute we walked into the Grand Lobby, which represents Spanish Colonial Revival, to get our tickets we were impressed - a beautiful chandelier and huge archway, Spanish ornamental tile, and the metal star railings capped with beautiful polished wood. From the lobby, which is also home to a gift shop, you ascend the stairs to the second floor to start your tour through history.
Once up the stars to start the Rio Grande Legacy tour, you're immediately greeted by a huge prehistoric dinosaur! I can't image running into one of those monsters on a stroll through the desert! As you walk through lifelike displays (like indians on the plains), unique artifacts, relics, and well done displays you'll progress from the days of the dinosaurs to the Coahuiltecan Indians followed by the Spanish exploration and colonization of South Texas to the Mexican and US Civil War. Next comes the steamboats bringing people and commerce, cattle, and farming. All of which is represented by large displays, replicas, display cases, film, and sounds for the era - all of which are amazing.
Back downstairs is the River Crossroads section of the history of the area. It starts with a replica train station to present how the railroad helped transform the region. Then came irrigated agriculture, towns and people, world wars, and the booming post war years. Like the upstairs gallery you'll encounter life like displays, vintage films, unique relics, and interesting and informative plaques loaded with facts and history.
Across a courtyard is the 1910 Jail which was closed for renovation during our visit. It's galleries have changing exhibitions. From the Jail you can visit Will Looney Legacy Park which has sculptures, a windmill and tank, a rustic log fence, sundial, a winding path with native animal tracks, and more.
Before you leave check out the gift shop that is loaded with books on regional, Texas and Mexican history and culture, an eclectic collection of folk art, home accessories, jewelry, and other unique gift and souvenir items that capture the spirit of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico.
We can highly recommend this very well done, unique, and informative walk through the history of South Texas.