The Republic of Texas Museum was officially opened to the public in 1921 on the second floor of the old General Land Office building on the Capitol grounds in Austin. The history of the collection, however, began in 1894 under the guidance of Rebecca Jane Fisher, vice president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The formation of the museum collection was initially a project of the William B. Travis chapter 3, of the DRT, and chapter president Mrs. Fisher and others quickly increased the number of artifacts from only twelve or so objects to 200 in a very short period of time. During the early years the collection was safeguarded in the homes of individual members, including the French Legation, which was at the time the home of Lillie Robertson. As the collection grew this method of caring for the artifacts was no longer appropriate. Relief came in 1903, when the Daughters of the Republic of Texas were assigned a room in the east wing of the state Capitol, in which the relics of the organization could be displayed. During the next ten years the Daughters organization, the museum collection, and state government continued to grow. Soon it was apparent that the state needed the space allocated for the DRT, and the DRT needed more room as well. In 1917 when the General Land Office moved to larger quarters, the legislature gave the Daughters of the Republic of Texas the use of the second floor of the old building for any purposes they desired. After remodeling of the building was completed, the collected relics were placed in the west room of the second floor, and the remainder of the space on that floor was used by the Daughters for meetings and office space. By the spring of 1921 the DRT held an official grand opening reception for their new museum facility. The DRT museum occupied the second floor of the old General Land Office continuously for the next seventy-one years, with the exception of a portion of 1957, when they vacated the second floor so that much needed repairs could commence. In 1989 the Daughters again left the building, this time permanently, so that a full scale restoration of the deteriorated old structure could begin. The collection was placed in storage for two years while a search for a new location was initiated. A suitable location in north Austin was purchased by the organization in 1991 on the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The collection, now numbering several thousand pieces, consists of documents, textiles, and artifacts from the Republic of Texas period and early Texas history. The mission of the museum is the portrayal and teaching of accurate Texas history.
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Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Fifty Years of Achievement: History of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (Dallas: Banks, Upshaw, 1942). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Ninety Years of the Daughters: History of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (Waco: Texian, 1981). Lest We Forget: Annals of the William B. Travis Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 1892–1962 (Austin, 1967).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Carl R. McQueary, “Republic of Texas Museum,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 15, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/republic-of-texas-museum.
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