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Where Texas History Began

Cannons of La Salle OdysseyOur permanent exhibit displays the last 13,000 years of Texas history, from the first inhabitants of the Coastal Bend region through the French, Spanish, and Mexican colonial efforts, up to the range of diverse influence that have created the modern Texan culture.

Some of the highlights of the exhibit include:

Early Inhabitants of the Coastal Bend
When the Egyptian pyramids were being built, people had already been living in the Coastal Bend for more than eight thousand years. When people moved to the Coastal Bend, no one on the planet had agriculture. Come explore the long and rich history of people in the Coastal Bend, including one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. Learn about sites worked on by the museum’s research team that are continuing to expand our knowledge about human life in the area.

Fort St. Louis and Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
The Museum of the Coastal Bend's Fort St. Louis exhibition explores several subjects relating to the first French settlement in Victoria County and the first European settlement in Texas. From French explorer LaSalle’s early expeditions to life at Fort St. Louis and the archaeological research on these subjects, each segment of this amazing story is told through informative scholarly written text panels, photographic images, and original artifacts found at the site.

The Cannons
The centerpiece exhibit in the Museum's gallery is the exhibit of seven of the eight cannons brought to Texas by French explorer La Salle. The eighth cannon is on exhibit at the State History Museum in Austin. The Fort St. Louis cannons are the focal point of MCB's exhibits.

La Belle  artifacts
Artifacts recovered from La Salle’s ship La Belle which sank in nearby Matagorda Bay, including munitions and personal items from the explorers.

Spanish Colonial Artifacts, featuring the James Woodrick Collection

La Salle's French settlement was viewed as a threat by the Spanish, who almost immediately began to settle Texas, forming the unique Hispanic culture South Texas enjoys today. See objects from this early Spanish period, including swords, jewelry, and even a pot for making hot chocolate!

Exhibit Guides

If you're looking for an overview of the history contained inside the museum to read before visiting or pull up on phone while touring the museum, look no further. Each of the links below will open an exhibit guide for the designated topic.

Texas' First Peoples

Karankawa, Peoples of the Gulf

French Exploration: La Salle's Expedition

A Unique Excavation

Spanish Presidios and Missions



Where Texas History Began