HemisFair ’68 Cup
San Antonio, Texas
This object is a glass souvenir cup with the scene of the Convention Center and Tower of the Americas printed on it to represent HemisFair ’68. HemisFair ’68 was the World’s Fair held in San Antonio, Texas from April 6th to October 6th 1968. The fair’s theme was “The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas” and celebrated the multiple nationalities settled in Texas. It coincided with the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio which was one of the first major cities established in Texas.
The World’s Fair is an international exhibit that generally lasts three to six months. It includes industrial, scientific, and cultural items as well as entertainment in the form or rides, shows, food, and drinks. Britain and France were the first the hold small scale fairs which culminated into the first World’s Fair in 1851. This first fair was called the Great Exhibition, also known as the Crystal Palace Exhibition, and was held in London’s Hyde Park. Since that time there have been over 100 other world’s fairs held in 20 different countries around the world
The 1968 World’s Fair began its planning in 1959 when it originally was meant to be a fair to celebrate the connections San Antonio shared with Latin America. The name HemisFair came from this idea, inspired by merchant Jerome K. Harris. Ewen C. Dingwall was soon brought in as the executive vice president because of his experience with the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris, which regulated the World’s Fairs. By 1965, HemisFair gained its international status and World’s Fair 1968 planning began.
The HemisFair wasn’t as successful as the planners had hoped, with financial troubles costing the city $7.5 million by the end. Still, the exhibit included more than thirty countries throughout North America, Europe, and South America as well as a few from Asia. Entertainment included artworks from the renowned Prado Museum in Madrid, celebrity entertainers, and groups such as the Ballet Folklórico de México and the Bolshoi Ballet from Russia. More than 6.3 million visitors attended and multiple corporate exhibitors.
The 1968 World’s Fair had a lasting impression on the San Antonio landscape. It created the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and the Tower of Americas which is an iconic part of the San Antonio skyline. HemisFair also brought about the Institute of Texan Cultures. The desire to represent the civilizations that contributed to San Antonio, and Texas as a whole, continue to be represented and celebrated in the museum today. [Briana Miano, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
I-0226 c, e, & g
San Andres Chicahuaxtla, Oaxaca, Mexico
These three objects are clothing items from the Trique tribe of Oaxaca, Mexico. The first object is a belt called a soyate, the second is a tunic or shirt called a huipil, and the third is a wraparound skirt called an enredo. Each of these objects are handmade textiles from the village of San Andres Chicahuaxtla and have connections to past clothing traditions of the native peoples of Mexico. All together they create a complete outfit a young woman would wear.
There are five villages of Trique people in the mountainous region of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. The San Andres Chicahuaxtla, San Jose Xochixtlan, San Martin Itunyoso, Santo Domingo del Estado, and the San Juan Copala. Altogether, the population of the Trique is about 30,000-40,000 people. The Trique are descendants of native indigenous groups dating back thousands of years. Trique is not only their name but the name for the language which links the five villages together. Each village does have differences though and can be divided into the lowland and highland groups. The Trique continue to be a part of Oaxacan culture today.
The clothing items are from the San Andres Chicahuaxtla village. The huipil is the main item of clothing and has the biggest connection to the Trique cultural identity. Originally, the huipil and other clothing items would have been made of hand spun and dyed cotton. Because of the added work and materials needed for dyes, older huipils are mostly white in color. The main band of color was always present at chest level and went across the front and back of the huipil. The enredo is a knee-length skirt that would have been worn underneath the long, tunic-like huipil and held in place by the soyate. The soyate is wrapped at the top of the skirt and then tucked under itself to stay in place. Traditional dress also included brown wool shawls. The Trique women didn’t have foot or headwear though. Red, blue, white, black, and brown were the main colors used in their clothing.
The Trique are still around today and continue to make their clothing. Despite technological advances, the Trique have managed to keep their traditional art of weaving while incorporating manufactured textiles. This has allowed there to be more intricate and colorful creations. Without having to lose their culture and traditions, the Trique have found a way to benefit from modern society while remaining true to their traditions. However, lately they have been facing problems. Clashes between individual villages and the government have led to unrest and some Trique have been removed from their homes. Today indigenous communities, are faced with the threat of modern day governments and big businesses. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
Don’t miss the Voices from the Invisible Diamonds lecture this Saturday! Former members of Negro League baseball teams in Texas will be sharing their stories. Joining the players are Damian Thomas, sports curator of the Smithsonian African American Cultural and History Museum in Washington, D.C.; and Layton Revel, founder and director of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research in Carollton, Texas, who also played a role in opening the Negro League Museum in Birmingham, Alabama.
Find out more HERE!
Rock Painting (reproduction)
Materials: Stone, Paint
This object is a reproduction of a rock painting found at Bonfire Shelter near Langtry, Texas. There is evidence of human presence at the site as far back as 12,000 to 14,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene era. Bonfire Shelter, and other rock shelters in the Lower Pecos area have a long history that continues to be a part of archaeological investigations today.
Bonfire Shelter’s importance was initially discovered by a high school student named Michael Collins. Collins was visiting the area with family when he went to go explore the rocky outcrop. Having read about archaeological excavations, Collins attempted to dig in a similar way to archaeological digs. After making a square hole and digging past a layer of cave dust and rock, Collins found charred bone a foot below the surface. He soon found a jaw bone that he thought belonged to a cow and took it to Glen Evans, a paleontologist and family friend. Evans determined that the bone belonged not to a cow but to a bison and the landowners began to look into an archaeological investigation.
In 1962 the area surrounding Bonfire Shelter was chosen as the future site of the Amistad Reservoir. Mark Parsons from the Texas Archaeological Salvage Project was sent in to determine if the area could be flooded. Almost immediately Parsons found artifacts, like a Montell style dart point which dated the bison bone layer to the late Archaic Period, roughly 2,500-3,000 years ago. As the investigation continued, evidence indicated that Bonfire Shelter was the site of a bison jump. Bison jumps were areas where bison were herded off a cliff and down onto a rock pile in front of the shelter where they were then butchered. Archaeologists realized that this bison jump site was the oldest known in North America as well as the furthest south.
The rock art found in the Bonfire Shelter area is an example of the Lower Pecos rock art style. Rock paintings go back thousands of years. Until recently, the oldest cave paintings were found in Spain and France and dated at 30,000 to 32,000 years old. In 2014 a new discovery pushed the oldest known painting back to 35,400 years old and was found in Sulawesi, Indonesia. There are even older paintings of abstract unidentifiable objects, which have been dated to 40,000 years old.
Today, Bonfire Shelter and the surrounding area is a part of the Seminole Canyon State Park. The park is named after Lieutenant John L. Bullis’ Black Seminole Scouts who were descendants of runaway slaves. This area sports some of the oldest known rock shelters in North America as well as some of the oldest rock wall paintings or pictographs, which can be seen on guided hiking tours today. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
This item is a piece of a Scottish tartan from the MacLean Clan, which is one of the oldest clans in the Scottish Highlands. It consists of green, white, and black patterned lines. Tartans have a long history, not just in Scotland but around the world, where the familiar plaid pattern has been used for centuries. Today we view the tartan pattern as representative of Scotland and their kilts.
Tartans are the patterns of interlocking different colored stripes that run horizontally and vertically, which are known as the warp and weft of the cloth. Tartans are defined as the pattern itself, so it can technically be used to describe the pattern in any form, such as in a digital picture, painting, or print. The earliest tartans can be dated back to the third or fourth century A.D. in Scotland though the pattern can be found as early as 3000 B.C. in other parts of the world. Originally tartan patterns did not have any significance, it was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that tartan began to symbolize clan affiliation.
The naming of tartan patterns began after 1765 when the firm William Wilson & Sons of Bannockburn began producing and collecting tartan patterns. By 1815 100 tartans had been named and clan chiefs began to gain interest in preserving their history and identifying a pattern that represented their clan. In 1822, King George IV visited Scotland expecting to see the clans present their tartans, this forced many clan leaders to choose or invent new tartans for their clan. Although tartans today are generally thought to represent clans, they can also represent towns, districts, corporations, individuals, and events.
This tartan is connected to the MacLean Clan of Duart Castle. Today the MacLean Clan has more than 10 different tartan patterns registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans. The MacLean’s have the prestige of having one of the oldest recorded tartans, which was described as early as 1587. Although it is difficult to know the exact origins of the clan, clan historians trace their ancestors as far back as 1050. Their name itself originated in 13th century when Gilleain na Tuaighe was chief. Maclean literally translates to son of Gilleain.
Today, tartans continue to be made and in the last fifty years have become an increasingly profitable business dominated by a few large mills. The tartan continues to be a representation of Scotland as much as kilts and bagpipes are. People continue to connect their genealogical history to their ancestral clans and the corresponding tartans. Clans continue to meet in reunions in Scotland, and Highland Games around the world to this day. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
Oil Sales Kit
Yuba Oil and Refining Company
Materials: Glass, Cloth
This object is an oil sales kit from Yuba Oil and Refining Company based in Nacogdoches, Texas. The kit is made up of several glass tubes that would have held various samples of oil and grease to be shown to potential buyers. The twelve long vials would have held the oil samples while the five shorter vials would have held the grease.
Oil in Texas has a long history and it originated in Nacogdoches. As early as 1790, grease that was on the surface of the Nacogdoches fields was used to oil axles of wagons that moved across the Spanish Trail. It was even used as a treatment for ailments like rheumatism, skin eruptions, cuts and bruises. In 1859, Lynis T Barrett began the first attempt to drill a well. However, the Civil War interrupted his work and he had to wait until after his service in the Confederate Army to begin the Melrose Petroleum Company. In the end, the company failed from lack of profits and the area was abandoned. From that point until the 1890s, five different companies drilled wells and only two made enough profits to last.
By the early 1890s oil wells were beginning to use pipelines and other transportation to take oil to newly operating refineries. The first of these was Lubricating Oil Company in Bayou Visitador. By 1918, Yuba Oil and Refining Company was created and owned by Mrs. P. K. Rideout. It began its operations in 1920 and was only in business for about ten years. The Yuba Company was located in Nacogdoches, Texas and was connected by a pipeline to Oil Springs.
The most well-known oil discovery in Texas was known as Spindletop and was found near Beaumont in Jefferson County. On January 10, 1901, a geyser reaching 150 feet height and releasing 100,000 barrels a day erupted from a drill site. Texas oil boomed and the surrounding country grew overnight as workers came to gain their share in the discovery. It was not long before Texas was known as a giant in the oil business and even destroyed John D. Rockefeller’s monopoly on it.
Earlier oil discoveries and the larger Spindletop boom all contributed to a growth in the Texan oil industry. Companies like Exxon, Texaco, and Gulf Oil (which was later bought by Chevron) all founded their businesses from Texan oil discoveries. The oil industry brought life to small town areas in Texas and contributed to innovations such as automobiles, airplanes, electronics and other high tech-fields.[Briana Miano, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
Mrs. John Mueller
Materials: Hair, Glass, Wood
This object is a framed wreath made of human hair inside a shadow box. This hair wreath was made by Mrs. John Mueller using the hair of several different female family members. Hair used to be a popular material in jewelry and wreath designs. Hair art can be traced all the way back to the 12th century, however it is hard to determine its exact beginnings. The keeping of human remains, both hair and other parts like bone fragments, had been practiced when creating reliquaries. Reliquaries are religious objects that contain, or claim to contain, the remains of important religious figures or important items. The practice of making and collecting hair art gained popularity during the Victorian Age.
The Victorian Age took place from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. It was during this time that hair work became not only a tradition but a fashion style. Most hair works were made as memorial tokens of those who had died. However, hair from living people was also used to make mementos that represented friendship and family connections. Typically, hair art and jewelry used the hair of family members, both female and male; but close friends would also exchange hair swatches and put them in autograph books.
For families, hair works collections could be used as a form of genealogy. Genealogy is the study of family and the tracing of their lineages and history. Hair works, especially wreaths, were made to be added onto as the family tree grew. Works were also known to have the person’s name as well as their birth and death dates written alongside the different hair samples. Unlike regular family trees, hair works were much more intimate. Other works include necklaces and bracelets woven out of the hair and watch fobs, brooches, and rings with the hair mounted on top.
Today, it is easy to view hair works and jewelry as something strange. However, for people who lived during the Victorian Era, hair work was an expression of love. With commercialism beginning to rise during this time, having a piece of art made from something as personal as someone’s hair was a sentimental and sincere gift. Hair works are still around today and can usually be found inside museums. Today we see a similar sentiment with the various ways people now display ashes of their loved ones. Some examples of this include urns for mantles, necklaces, and even transforming the ashes into man-made diamonds. [Briana Miano, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
Northern Mexico or southern Texas
Materials: Wood, Paint
This object is a wooden statue of Saint Anthony, or possibly Saint Francis. Spanish statues like this were called bultos or santos and they were depictions of saints or other religious figures in Catholicism. This work of art was probably made in southern Texas or northern Mexico. A figurine like this would have been used in a home shrine, rather than in a church. Santos have a long history dating back to the Spanish Colonial period, after the Spanish had explored and conquered the New World.
Originally, santos were made by the missionaries living in the New World. These religious men would use them as props to help teach Native Americans about Christianity, and were often given to the converts to display in their homes. However, not all santos were placed in the home, many of them were treasured items and churches proudly displayed them during religious celebrations.
This santo is depicting either Saint Anthony or Saint Francis. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of finding lost things or people. He was a part of the Franciscan order and was known for his gifted preaching which had the ability to reach people of various backgrounds. This gift was celebrated so much that he was given the title of Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946. He is usually depicted holding a book, or with Jesus as a baby.
Saint Francis is the patron saint of merchants, ecologists, and animals. He was known for abandoning his family wealth to live a simpler life of poverty. He is one of the most respected religious figures in history. The Franciscan order was also founded by him and the members of the church would later become widespread in the New World in their attempt to convert native populations. He is usually depicted with animals such as birds.
Santos are carved out of wood and then painted into the likeness of whichever saint they were supposed to represent. Today, people called santeros make the santos and other religious images. Like all art, the materials they are made from and their style reveal where they come from. Many santos are attributed to New Mexico where the tradition of making and keeping santos is still practiced. However, not many examples of early colonial santos survived to today. [Briana Miano, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
These objects are two plaques that were located at the Bexar county courthouse in downtown San Antonio. The plaques were installed in 1936 and commissioned by The American Legion and the Texas division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The plaques were erected in honor of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway and were dedicated to the soldiers of the Confederacy. The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway was part of large project pioneered by the National Highway Association. Starting in 1916 and finished in 1920, the goal was to have a highway that would link Miami to Los Angeles.
The plaques were commissioned by the American Legion, a patriotic veteran’s organization established in 1919, dedicated “to the soldiers of the Confederacy and the daughters of the Confederacy.” The Legion has a long history of supporting pro-veteran legislation including the GI Bill. The plaques were also sponsored by the Texas division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which was originally founded in Nashville, Tennessee. The United Daughters of the Confederacy became one of the driving forces behind many Confederate memorials and monuments, often in collaboration with other organizations like the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and the American Legion.
However, these plaques were removed on July 21, 2015. The effort to remove the plaques was part of a larger nation-wide movement to remove monuments honoring the Confederacy. This movement gained momentum following a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The shooting took place in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest black churches in the United States and an important site for meetings during the Civil Rights Movement.
The shooting was labeled a hate crime after police learned the shooter yelled racial slurs while shooting the victims. It was later discovered that the shooter had posted images and a personal manifesto online which contained racist statements, and included the Confederate flag. The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” As a result of the shooting 9 people lost their lives, all of whom were African American.
The shooting in Charleston prompted many people to protest the Confederate flag, as a symbol of hate, and called its removal from public spaces. In some locations protestors tried to remove the flag themselves and some were arrested. On June 22 the governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley called for the removal of the flag. The flag was officially removed in July after long hours of deliberations. Governors from Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina also sought to get rid of Confederate flag license plates in their states.
As Confederate flags came down from public spaces around the country, retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon stopped the sale of Confederate flag items. In San Antonio a call to inventory Confederate symbols around the city uncovered 9. The Bexar Country Commissioners Court deliberated for hours and finally came to the conclusion to take down the symbols. Judge Nelson Wolf stated, “We are simply not going to glorify a symbol which to many people, not all, but to many people has become a symbol of fear and a symbol of hate.” The plaques were donated to the Institute of Texan Cultures after the Commissioners Court directed that the plaques be placed “in an educational or museum setting where they can be interpreted in a balanced way.” [Tanner Norwood, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]