Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site Calendar of Events for April through June 2016

Share Article

Site’s attractions and parkland open year-round with special activities that bring Texas History and Texas Revolution to life

News Image

2016 is an important year for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site. Not only is it the 180th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836 at the park site, but it is also the state park's 100th birthday. It was March 2, 1836 when 59 delegates bravely met at Washington, Texas to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. From 1836 until 1846, after the Texas Revolution, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation. Washington on the Brazos is, indeed, “Where Texas Became Texas.”

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site has many onsite amenities open daily, as well as an incredible schedule of events and programs that honor Texas history. On the grounds of this 293-acre TPWD-run state park is Independence Hall (the site in 1836 where the representatives met to write the declaration of independence); the Star of the Republic Museum (collections honoring the history, cultures, diversity and values of early Texans; administered by Blinn College); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, talk, work and farm as the earliest residents of the original farmstead did). The site’s Visitor Center features interactive exhibits which present a timeline of the Texas Revolution and highlight the historic attractions located within the park; it also houses the spacious Washington Emporium Gift Shop, which offers snacks and a wide range of Texas-themed items and keepsakes. The Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site is a wonderfully preserved example of a 19th century stagecoach inn, located nearby in Anderson, TX. There is never a charge for entrance to the park grounds or Visitor Center, nor for parking.

SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL EVENTS:

Unless noted otherwise, programs are open to all ages, but an adult must accompany any children. Visitors should dress appropriately for outdoor weather and uneven walking surfaces as the events take place in 1850s period settings, with some portions outdoors. Fees apply for access to Barrington Farm and the Star of the Republic Museum, and for tours of Independence Hall.

March 5, 2016 through February 15, 2017 - A Legacy of Leadership: The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence Exhibit – Star of the Republic Museum: The exhibit will focus on the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1836—those leaders who determined the future of Texas. Among them were 12 lawyers, five physicians, four surveyors and three each of planters, empresarios and merchants. The exhibit includes personal artifacts such as Sam Maverick’s buckskins, a cameo of Michel Menard, oil portraits of Stephen Blount and his wife, and many others items. Contact: Shawn Carlson (936)878-2461, x241 or scarlson(at)blinn(dot)edu.

March 5, 2016 – June 5, 2016 – Sam Houston’s Washington – The Gallery of the Republic, Visitor Center: Visitors can find out what the town of Washington was like during the Republic years at this special exhibit that features personal items belonging to Sam Houston, as well as documents and memorabilia from the time he spent in the frontier capital of the Republic of Texas. Items displayed are from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) collections. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

March 7, 2016 – April 30, 2016 – Fine Arts Exhibit, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily - Gallery of the Republic, Visitor Center: Members of the Brenham Fine Arts League will display original works of art focusing on the history and beauty of the Texas Brazos Valley. Established in 1956, BFAL is a member of the prestigious Lone Star Art Guild. Pieces using various mediums will be exhibited by local artists. Contact: Rebecca Byers, (936) 878-2214 ext. 225 or rebecca.byers(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

March 12, 2016 – Opening of Pioneer Playroom (permanent exhibit) - Star of the Republic Museum: The Museum’s new Pioneer Playroom will simulate a Texas frontier homestead, with inside and outside features. It will allow children to immerse themselves in the role of pioneers through role-playing, interactive experiences and a variety of learning styles such as loading a covered wagon; dressing in period clothing; or building a log cabin. Contact: Anne McGaugh, (936) 878-2461, ext. 237, amcgaugh(at)blinn(dot)edu    

March 19, 2016 – Book signing of “General Houston’s Little Spy” - 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. – Gift Shop/Gallery Lobby: Author Cara Skinner, a former Texas history and special education teacher shares her powerful historical fiction story that shows how ordinary people can help win wars. Focusing on the struggle for freedom by the people of Texas, Skinner’s unlikely heroine plays a significant role in determining the future of the Republic of Texas. Contact: Rebecca Byers, (936) 878-2214 ext. 225 or rebecca.byers(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

March 19, 2016 - Hands-On History – Basket Weaving - 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. - Star of the Republic Museum: Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom, opening on March 12. Contact: Donna Barker, (936) 878-2461, ext. 236, Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

April 2, 2016 – Where Have the Monarchs Gone?, 11 a.m. – 12:30 – Education Center: This fun workshop session takes children through the life-cycle and migration of the Monarch butterfly, including discussion of food and nursery sources, and how to plant a butterfly waystation at home. The class includes a lively mixture of indoor and outdoor activities (weather permitting), all geared toward children from the age of 6 to 12 years old. This will be a hands-on adventure following the Monarch butterfly from egg to caterpillar to butterfly, and then follow the amazing journey to Mexico. The session will last approximately 1½ hours, and is hosted by the Gideon Lincecum Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. Contact: Karen Ginnard, (713) 584-9756 or karenginnard(at)yahoo(dot)com.

April 9, 2016 - Bloodletting, Leeches and Laudanum: Medicine in the 1850s, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. – Barrington Farm: Medicine in the 1850s utilized strange and painful treatments, which were more likely to harm than help. Learn what techniques and treatments Dr. Anson Jones (the last president of the Republic of Texas) and his colleagues would perform. This presentation will involve plenty of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages and lasts approximately one hour. Contact: Mick Haven, (936) 878-2214 x246 or mick.haven(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

April 9, 2016 - Stagecoach Days, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. – Fanthorp Inn: Stagecoach Days allows visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross-country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. There is no admission fee to visit the inn, with a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children for stagecoach rides. Rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

Special Focus: “Children’s Pastimes and Playthings” – In the days before cell phones, TVs and computer games, early Texas children found delight in activities such as Button Whizzers, Corn Shuck Dolls and Hoop Races. This activity will focus on hands-on activities for kids, including period games, toys and interactive historical demonstrations.

April 16, 2016 – Living History Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Independence Hall: Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. On the third Saturday of each month, staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family, activities include, writing with a quill pen; signing a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence; visiting with militia soldiers travelling through town; and playing some early Texas games. Step-back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent). Traditional guided tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days.. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

April 16, 2016 - Basketry-on-the-Brazos, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Barrington Farm: In 1850s Texas, it was a common sight to see people harvesting green, sap-laden trees to turn into baskets. Baskets were the most convenient way to carry things, be it a small basket to carry a lunch or a large bushel basket to carry the cotton that was picked. Join Barrington Farm personnel as they demonstrate the process of pounding a green log into baskets splits; visitors will help them weave those splits into baskets to be used on the farm throughout the year. Contact: Bruce Wardlow, (936) 878-2214 x246 or bruce.wardlow(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

April 16, 2016 - Hands-On History –Tissue Paper Flowers - 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. - Star of the Republic Museum: Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom. Contact: Donna Barker, (936) 878-2461, ext. 236, Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

April 23, 2016 – Booksigning of “Old 300: Gone To Texas,” 10 a.m. to 12 noon – Gift Shop/Gallery Lobby: Wharton Junior College history professor Paul Spellman, PhD, has written the definitive work on Stephen F. Austin’s Old 300 and will sign copies of his book for the park’s visitors. In his words: “This is the only complete story of the arrival of Austin’s first colonists to Texas, the iconic Old 300. It tells the story of who these people were, why they came to Texas, where they came from, and how they got here.” Contact: Becky Byers, (936) 878-2214 ext. 225 or rebecca.byers(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

April 23rd, 2016 – Monarch Conservation / Restoration, 10 a.m. – 12 noon – Education Center: Monarch butterflies are known for the incredible mass migration that brings millions of them to California and Mexico each winter. North American monarchs are the only butterflies that make such a massive journey—up to 3,000 miles. Join other interested adults to explore the decline of the Monarch butterfly, and discuss lifecycle, habitat, migration, and restoration activities that can be undertaken from the smallest flowerbed to the largest acreage. The workshop will include approximately one hour of lively education, followed by a one-hour nature walk (weather permitting) and discussion of the restoration efforts being undertaken by the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site. The session will last approximately 2 hours, and is hosted by the Gideon Lincecum Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. Contact: Karen Ginnard, (713) 584-9756 or karenginnard(at)yahoo(dot)com.

May 7, 2016 – Snakes Alive! – A Study of Snakes in the Washington County Area, 1 – 3 p.m. – Education Center: Join the Gideon Lincecum Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists and TPWD staff as they explore the beauty and habits of snakes routinely seen at WOB with a classroom program and nature walk. Visitors will learn interesting facts and folklore of these famous and infamous snakes, including copperheads, Texas rat snakes, coral snakes and Brazos water snakes. Live specimens will be displayed in containers and will include. Contact: Karen Ginnard, (713) 584-9756 or karenginnard(at)yahoo(dot)com.

May 14, 2016 – Gardening Techniques, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. – Barrington Living History Farm: Many older gardening techniques have become popular again due to the great results they yield! Visit Barrington Farm and learn about Composting, Companion Planting and Mulching and discover how they can assist in creating a successful home garden. Presentations are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. so don’t miss the opportunity to learn these age-old methods! Contact: Mike Edwards, (936) 878-2214 ext. 246 or mike.edwards(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov

May 14, 2016 – Stagecoach Days, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. – Fanthorp Inn: Stagecoach Days allows visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross-country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. There is no admission fee to visit the inn, with a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children for stagecoach rides. Rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

Special Focus: Music Makes a Celebration: Presented at 11, 1 and 3 p.m. for approximately 35 minutes, this event features music by the “Star of Texas Dulcimers.” Relive the joy weary travelers and local citizens experienced as the inn provided the largest room and accommodations in the area to host celebrations, parties and the occasional escape from the rugged Texas frontier.

May 21, 2016 – Our Fine Feathered Friends, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. – Park Grounds: Washington on the Brazos is an excellent place for birding; one advanced birder has observed 128 species of birds in the park. Since the park has been kept as close to its 1800s environment as possible, there is an abundance of natural habitat and food sources for Texas birds. This event is hosted by the Gideon Lincecum Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists and begins with a presentation on birding, park safety and some of the birds that make the park their home, followed by a nature walk to see birds. Beginners to advanced bird watchers are all welcome; the session will last approximately 2 hours. Contact: Karen Ginnard, (713) 584-9756 or karenginnard(at)yahoo(dot)com.

May 21, 2016 – Living History Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Independence Hall: Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. On the third Saturday of each month, staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family, activities include, writing with a quill pen; signing a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence; visiting with militia soldiers travelling through town; and playing some early Texas games. Step-back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent). Traditional guided tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

May 21, 2016 - Hands-On History –Knot Tying - 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. - Star of the Republic Museum: Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom. Contact: Donna Barker, (936) 878-2461, ext. 236, Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

May 28, 2016 – Food from The Farm, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. – Barrington Farm: Join Kellie McKenney, TPWD Park Ranger, for a discussion on the heirloom vegetables and flowers typically grown at Barrington Farm during the mid-19th century. Visitors will learn about companion planting as a natural pesticide; organic farming; and seed saving. Make a botanical journal and take home a poem full of life lessons. Contact: Kellie McKenney at (936) 878-2214 ext. 248 or kellie.mckenney(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

May 28, 2016 – Music Makes a Celebration, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – Fanthorp Inn: Discover the music that inspired celebration and recreation in 19th century Texas with this program, presented by Homestead Strings. As one of early Texas’ most occupied stagecoach inns, Fanthorp often found itself as the focal point for parties, celebrations and great balls which brought delight to significant holidays such as New Years, Christmas and Texas Independence Day. Relive the joy that weary travelers and local citizens experienced as the Inn provided the largest accommodations in the area to host celebrations, parties and the occasional escape from the rugged Texas frontier. Presentations will be ongoing throughout the day and will last approximately 35-40 minutes. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

June 11, 2016 – Stagecoach Days, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. – Fanthorp Inn: Stagecoach Days allows visitors to experience what it was like to travel cross-country via stagecoach and learn about the Inn’s history and connection with early stage lines. There is no admission fee to visit the inn, with a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children for stagecoach rides. Rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

Special Focus: Children’s Toys, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.: Children will learn games from the old days, including, period games, toys and interactive historical demonstrations. In the days before cell phones, TVs and computer games early Texas children found delight in activities such as Button Whizzers, Corn Shuck Dolls and Hoop Races.

June 18, 2016 – Living History Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Independence Hall: Travel back in time to where a nation was born in 1836. On the third Saturday of each month, staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing bring to life the people and events of Old Washington providing a unique opportunity to discover various aspects of life surrounding the birth of the Republic of Texas. The program features activities suited for the entire family, activities include, writing with a quill pen; signing a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence; visiting with militia soldiers travelling through town; and playing some early Texas games. Step-back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent). Traditional guided tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

June 18, 2016 - Hands-On History –Corn Husk Dolls - 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. - Star of the Republic Museum: Join museum staff on the third Saturday of each month to make crafts and toys that pioneer kids made during the Republic time. Visitors can also discover what life was like for kids living in the 1830s in the newly renovated Pioneer Playroom. Contact: Donna Barker, (936) 878-2461, ext. 236, Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

June 25, 2016 - Music Makes a Celebration, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. – Fanthorp Inn: Discover the music that inspired celebration and recreation in 19th century Texas with music by Homestead Strings. As one of early Texas’ most occupied stagecoach inns, Fanthorp often found itself as the focal point for parties, celebrations and great balls which brought delight to significant holidays such as New Years, Christmas and Texas Independence Day. Relive the joy that weary travelers and local citizens experienced as the Inn provided the largest accommodations in the area to host celebrations, parties and the occasional escape from the rugged Texas frontier. Presentations will be ongoing throughout the day and will last approximately 35-40 minutes. Contact: Jon Failor, (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

Monday, July 4, 2016: H-E-B Fireworks on the Brazos celebrates national Independence Day at the place Where Texas Became Texas. Sponsored by H-E-B, the annual 4th of July celebration at Washington on the Brazos includes a fun-filled day of family activities. Highlights of the celebration are the music concert (no cover charge) by the Cody Bryan Band from 7 to 9 p.m. in the park’s amphitheater, followed by a fireworks extravaganza with patriotic music at approximately 9:30 p.m. H-E-B will give away sodas. Food vendors will offer a variety of festival food choices; arts and crafts vendors will offer items for sale. Visitors can bring picnics, blankets, lawn chairs and flashlights. State park rules apply; alcohol prohibited.

The Park: The expansive park grounds along the Brazos River also provide a beautiful setting for picnicking, sightseeing and bird watching, as well as four geocaching sites—two each from TPWD and the Brenham/Washington County Chamber and CVB. It also features a Conference and Education Center, which is available for rent for meetings, weddings and reunions. An outdoor amphitheater and two pavilions are also available to rent.

There are many reasons to join the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association as a member and explore this Texas treasure. Besides the irreplaceable satisfaction of helping to uphold Texas history through the Association’s preservation projects, celebrations and programming, spending time at the park is an easy, inexpensive, educational and fun way to entertain families and visitors. Park Association membership levels are available for individuals, families and businesses and include complimentary admission to the Site’s attractions for a year, and—for some levels—private parties during the park’s special celebrations.

Visitors should call the park at (936) 878-2214 to confirm all of these dates and times; events subject to change based on weather, etc. Leashed pets allowed in park, but NOT allowed onto farm site or in the buildings. Attractions are accessible for the mobility impaired. For lodging information, please contact the Brenham Visitor Center at http://www.visitbrenhamtexas.com/ or 1-888-BRENHAM, or the city of Navasota at http://www.navasotagrimeschamber.com.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site is found on the Brazos River at the original townsite of Washington, Texas, a major political and commercial center in early Texas. It is located at 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, TX, 77880—approximately halfway between Brenham and Navasota, off of State Hwy. 105. From Hwy. 105, follow either FM 912 or FM 1155 to Park Road 12. For additional information, call (936) 878-2214 or visit the site’s website at http://www.wheretexasbecametexas.org.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jeanne Albrecht

Jeanne Albrecht
Visit website