Weekender: Presenting the Presidio
See related: Mammoth Discovery and Wild About the Springs
A museum-redesign showcases the history of Presidio La Bahía
By Nola McKey
It’s a new day for the Presidio
La Bahía, a National Historic Landmark near Goliad. Despite the Presidio’s
importance—historians consider it the world’s finest example of a Spanish
frontier fort—the site has lacked the resources to showcase its rich history
until recently. Last month marked the completion of a three-and-a-half-year,
museum-redesign project—funded by the Presidio La Bahía Foundation—that
promises to lure visitors from across the country.
“The Presidio has a big story
to tell,” says site director Newton Warzecha. “It isn’t just about the Goliad
Massacre—which took place here three weeks after the Alamo fell—and the Texas
Revolution, but also about the Spanish Colonial and Mexican periods and the
tumultuous time leading up to the revolution. To give you an idea of the
scope we’re talking about, the Presidio dates to 1721, and nine flags have
flown over this area, not six. The fort’s Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, which
was completed in 1779, is one of the oldest churches in the country; services
are still held there today.”
Among the improvements: new
signage throughout the property and
a wheel-chair-acces-sible entrance in front of the former officer’s quarters, which houses
the muse-um. Inside, a viewing room near the gift shop offers a 15-minute
vi-deo orien-ta-tion. Visitors can then proceed through the ex---hibits,
which have been reorganized so that each room represents a different
chronological period. New display cabinets exhibit selected items from the
Presidio’s collection of 54,694 artifacts—all found on site—including Spanish
Colonial bits and bridles and a rare shako plate from a Mexican military cap.
Presidio La Bahía presents living-history events throughout the year and offers limited overnight lodging in the former officer's quarters. Call 361/645-3752; www.presidiolabahia.org.
From the July 2010 issue.
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