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MAPPING TEXAS: From Frontier to the Lone Star State

Friday, January 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristen Evon
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Today Commissioner George P. Bush announced the Texas General Land Office will lend 50 maps of Texas, representing more than 400 years of its history, to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for a nine-month exhibition opening January 27, 2017. Mapping Texas: From Frontier to the Lone Star State opens just in time to welcome visitors to Houston for Super Bowl LI. 

"People from all over the world will be converging on Houston for Super Bowl LI on February 5," said Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. "While in Houston, they will have the chance to see why 'everything is bigger in Texas,' when they visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Through this exhibit, showing more than 400 years of Texas cartographic history, visitors will have the opportunity to see the formation of Texas, from an unnamed frontier in the New World, to a small outpost of New Spain, to the huge, bustling state that now leads the nation. Residents and visitors will be able to visualize how the fourth largest city in the U.S., Houston, and the third most populous county in the U.S., Harris County, grew into an economic powerhouse because of the Houston Ship Channel and the growth of railroads in the region."

Click here to learn more about this exhibit

Mapping Texas: From Frontier to the Lone Star State will be in the Hamill Gallery and feature maps dating between 1513-1920. The works in this exhibition are mainly from the archival collection of the Texas General Land Office and Houston map collectors Frank and Carol Holcomb. Additionally, there are items on loan from the Witte Museum in San Antonio and the Bryan Museum in Galveston.

"This exhibition is a wonderful partnership among multiple institutions and private individuals," said Commissioner Bush. "It is important to me, as the steward of both the Alamo and the 36 million documents and maps in the General Land Office archives, to preserve and provide public access to Texas history. Through exhibits like this, we are able to show why Texas has a history that sets us apart. This exhibit is one way to bring Texas history to life. Tens-of-thousands of people will be able see Texas history, and view these brilliant works of art up close."

This exhibit illustrates how centuries of political changes shaped Texas, with an emphasis on the fact that in order for a place to be claimed, it needed to first be mapped. Mapping Texas features many of the most important, influential, and rare maps of Texas, the United States, and North America.

Some of the maps presented in this exhibit include: 

Also on display are oversized maps of Texas including:  

About the Texas General Land Office's Save Texas History program
Created in 2004, the Save Texas History program is a statewide initiative to rally public support and private funding for the preservation and promotion of the historic maps and documents housed in the GLO Archives, and serves as a resource for teaching and digitizing Texas history. If you would like to donate to the Save Texas History program to adopt a document or collection, assist with archival acquisitions, develop educational programs, or support digital projects, please visit  Follow Save Texas History on Facebook ( and Twitter (@SaveTXHistory).

About Frank and Carol Holcomb
Frank and Carol Holcomb, of Houston, have been collecting maps since 1978. Their collection emphasizes color and rarity. The Holcomb Collection consists of over 80 maps, dated between 1513 to 1904. These collected works cover the entire Western Hemisphere, with a primary focus on Texas and the United States. They have assembled a world-class collection, of which 19 are on exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science during Mapping Texas: From Frontier to the Lone Star State. In 2014, Frank and Carol Holcomb worked with the Texas General Land Office to digitize their map collection with the desire to provide access to the public. Frank Holcomb practices tax, estate planning and corporate law in Houston. Carol has a strong interest in history and the decorative arts.

About the Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science-one of the nation's most heavily attended museums-is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, and the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium, and George Observatory, and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.


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