The La Salle Odyssey
The La Salle Odyssey exhibit tells the story of the first European settlement in Texas- the French Fort St. Louis, and the archaeological excavation of the French ship La Belle in Matagorda Bay.
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 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 such as a small glass fica, possibly worn as a charm to ward off evil spirits.
Nueva Espana: 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!
Early People of the Texas Coastal Bend
People have lived in this area for at least 13,000 years. 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.
Winning the West: Firearms in the Texas Coastal Bend
People have some basic needs, like food, safety, freedom, and recreation. Since people have been in the Texas Coastal Bend, they have used guns to ensure they had those needs met. Through this widespread use, guns have become part of the culture of the region, and part of the enduring public image of Texas.
Explore the reasons that guns have become such an important part of history and culture here in the Texas Coastal Bend, and examine the very guns that people thought would help them secure safety, food, freedom, or just plain fun.