A Texas music-style time traveling experience is taking patrons on a journey that begins with the Native Americans and continues with sounds that fill radio airwaves.
Gary Hartman, director of the Center for Texas Music History, curated the Texas Music Roadtrip exhibit at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.
Hartman said he worked on the exhibit for about three years before the doors opened in March. He said the exhibit is organized into five regions of Texas and focuses on the diversity of Texas music.
“So many people, when they think of Texas music, think of country music,” Hartman said. “But anyone who lives here knows that there is so much more to Texas music than just country. There is blues, gospel, jazz, conjuto, Tejano, rock and roll, German, Czech, Cajun and zydeco.”
The exhibit features photos, costumes, hand-written lyrics, musical instruments and a sampling jukebox that plays nearly every genre of Texas music. He said that visitors can expect to see some of their favorite musicians alongside some unfamiliar musicians.
“There are so many musicians from Texas and so many types of music in Texas,” Hartman said. “We tried to choose famous people and not-so-famous people. We didn’t want it to just be a hall of fame kind of thing.”
Hartman said one of his favorite artifacts in the exhibit is the songbook of Willie Nelson as a boy.
“You just imagine him as a 10- or 11-year-old kid writing out these songs,” Hartman said. “You can kind of see that he is already forming his songwriting skills, even as a child.”
Kathryn Siefker, exhibit contact coordinator at the Bob Bullock Museum, said that many people have called the museum asking about the exhibit, particularly Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar.
“Obviously it has been a great thrill and it was a great find to have Stevie Ray Vaughan’s number one guitar since it hasn’t been on display since he died in 1990,” Siefker said. “I talked to one guy who lives in Tennessee, and he was going to plan his summer vacation around coming to the museum to see Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar. He said it was going to be a pilgrimage for him.”
Siefker said one of her favorite pieces on display is the baby grand piano that used to be at the Armadillo World Headquarters.
“It has been played by so many musicians, like Fats Domino, Neil Diamond, and Bette Midler,” Siefker said. “If any of those artifacts could talk, I think the piano would have great things to tell us.”
The exhibit will be on display until Oct. 14.