Oral Histories With Avocational Archaeologists

Oral Histories featuring members of the Coastal Bend Archaeological Logistics Team (CoBALT) can be found on the Museum of the Coastal Bend YouTube channel. There, visitors can hear interviews with the people who have helped make the museum into what it is today. Topics include changes in the field of archaeology, how to collect artifacts responsibly, why documentation is important, and why each member of CoBALT loves what they do. To watch a playlist of all the interviews, click here.

Here's a sample of the interviews - click the image below to hear Bill Birmingham discuss the importance of documentation.











Scallorn points, an assortment of projectile points, from the collections at the Museum of the Coastal BendCollections at the Museum of the Coastal Bend include the material culture of the Texas Coastal Bend, with artifacts from 13,000 years old to the 20th century. In total, MCB possesses approximately 25,000 artifacts from more than 160 areas and archaeological sites in Texas. Artifacts are on display in the museum’s permanent exhibits, and in storage for preservation and research purposes.

MCB is the repository for the 41VT4 archaeological collection, which encompasses the 1680s French La Salle Fort Saint Louis colony as well as the later Spanish presidio (fort) at the same location. The site is of local, state, and national significance, as the French intrusion on Spanish territory was the impetus for further Spanish colonization beyond Mexico into Texas. Promotion and dissemination of scholarly materials generated by the discovery and excavation of the site broaden the traditional East-West teachings of North American colonization. 41VT4 has objects from French and Spanish colonists, as well as Native people who interacted with both groups.

In 2009, the Museum of the Coastal Bend achieved Certified Curatorial Facility status, a designation awarded by The Texas Historical Commission to only sixteen such designated institutions in the state. The certification, renewed in 2019, ensures that facilities meet current museum standards pertinent to the care and management of held-in-trust collections. The Collections Management Policy ensures that collections are treated responsibly.

In 2017, the museum underwent a Collections Assessment Program administered by IMLS and AAM, as the first step in the museum’s goal to digitize collections and create an online, searchable database for scholarly use. An IMLS Inspire Grant further provided funding in 2019 towards this goal, and enabled the museum to hire two interns to assist with rehousing, cataloging, photography, and data entry of priority collections. The museum is currently accepting applications for unpaid collections internships.

Public Archaeology Lab

Visitors can witness archaeological processes in action at the museum's Public Archaeology Lab, manned by museum volunteers and members of CoBALT - the Coastal Bend Archaeological Logistics Team.Through a partnership with CoBALT (the Coastal Bend Archaeological Logistics Team) and regional archaeological stewards for the Texas Historical Commission, the museum hosts a Public Archaeology Lab. Lab volunteers research, sort, catalog, and process materials from the museum’s collections and regional archaeological excavations, and share their work and discoveries with visitors. New volunteers are trained in archaeological processes in a learning program managed by stewards and the museum’s Exhibits & Collections Manager.

Lab Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10am – 2pm. Free and open to the public.

Visit the Lab on YouTube

Volunteer Application