Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site Announces Special Events and Celebrations for January Through March 2017

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Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site’s attractions and parkland open year-round with special activities

From 1836 until 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation. [Washington on the Brazos is, indeed, “Where Texas Became Texas.”

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, 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. 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. The entrance to the park grounds, Visitor Center and parking is always free; fees apply for access to Barrington Farm and the Star of the Republic Museum, and for tours of Independence Hall.

Permanent Exhibit – Pioneer Playroom – Star of the Republic Museum: The Museum’s new Pioneer Playroom simulates an early Texas frontier homestead that allows participants to immerse themselves in the role of pioneers through role-playing, interactive experiences and a variety of learning styles. Children can load and sit on a buckboard wagon, dress in clothing characteristic of the period, build a log cabin, wash and hang laundry, haul water, milk a cow, gather eggs from a chicken coop and more. Free with paid admission to the Museum. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 245 or donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

Through February 15, 2017 - A Legacy of Leadership: The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence Exhibit – Star of the Republic Museum: The exhibit focuses 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, ext. 241 or scarlson(at)blinn(dot)edu.

One of the site’s most significant, annual events occurs on March 4 and 5, 2017: Texas Independence Day Celebration; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site). “Texas Independence Day Celebration” is an annual two-day celebration featuring live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, firing demonstrations, historical encampments and commemorative programs. The 2017 keynote speaker will be Judge Ken Wise and will speak on Sunday, March 5. Judge Wise sits on the court of appeals and has his own podcast, “Wise About Texas.” Special guests and entertainment will include Texas A&M University Singing Cadets; a historical play titled “The Birth of a Republic” about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence; family reunions of the descendants of the 59 men who signed the Declaration; wreath laying ceremony at the Children’s Monument; demonstrators and musicians will bring old time music, crafts and additional historical reenactments; and walking the same trail as Texas’ forefathers and pioneer families. Texas musicians and actors will provide musical and theatrical entertainment. A Kids History Zone will allow children to dress up in historical costumes; sign a large scale copy of the Declaration; and takes photos near the Declaration. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd(dot)texas.gov.

March 4, 2017 through February 15, 2018 – Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing your Family Treasures – Star of the Republic Museum: The Star of the Republic Museum at WOB will celebrate the 181th anniversary of Texas’s independence with its new exhibit, “Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing your Family Treasures.” Stories will come to light as artifacts are examined in-depth through lineage research. Documents reveal where the artifacts originated, who owned them, and how they got to Texas. Items in the exhibit include three year-old Edward Boylan’s buckskin suit; Pleasant B. Watson’s diary; Heinrich Riemann’s clog-making tools; and Clara Lang’s grand piano, among others.

Schedule of Special Events - Jan through March 2017:
Unless noted otherwise, programs are open to all ages, but an adult must accompany any children. Visitors should dress appropriately for the season and be prepared for the weather as the events take place in 1850s period settings, with some portions outdoors. 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.

January 14 & 15, 2017 - Butchering and Curing: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Harvesting meat for the coming year was an important task on the farm, especially for Dr. Jones’ family and the slaves on Barrington. Preserving all the meat in cold weather was important for long-term survival as well. On Saturday we eviscerate and cut up the hog and Sunday we’ll be making sausage and curing meat. For more information, contact Mike Edwards at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246 or mike.edwards(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

January 21, 2017 – 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. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen and sign a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Visit with militia soldiers travelling through town or try your hand at some early Texas games. Step back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent) This program will feature: Quill pen writing, 19th century medicine, Blacksmithing demonstration. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

January 21, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Buzz Saw Toys: 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. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236, Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

January 28, 2017- Light in the Dark: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Seeing in the dark is something we take for granted today, but making your own light is frugal and satisfying. On Barrington farm, the home of the last president of Texas, Anson Jones, they would have been using purchased and homemade candles. The slaves might have used grease lamps, rush lights, or started their fires with flint and steel. Try your hand at candle dipping, for those six and older, as long as supplies last. For more information, contact Barb King at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246 or barb.king(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

February 18, 2017 – 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. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen and sign a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Visit with militia soldiers travelling through town or try your hand at some early Texas games. Step back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent) This program will feature: Cooking demonstration with focus on the type of food available in town at the time of the Convention of 1836. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

February 18, 2017 - Flint & Steel- Spark of Life: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Starting a fire was a critical skill in the 1850’s and fire was the main tool for light, heat, and food preparation. See how flint, steel, and char cloth can be used to ignite a fire. For more information, contact Kim Breed at 936-878-2214 ext. 246 or kim.breed(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov

February 18, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Embroidery: 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. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236, Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

March 11, 2017 – Stagecoach Days: 11 a.m. – 3p.m. (Fanthorp Inn): Fanthorp Inn will host Stagecoach Days allowing 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. A suggested donation of $4.00 ($10 w/ coach ride) for adults and $2.00 ($5 w/ coach ride) for children to tour the Inn and ride the coach helps support the site. Coach rides last approximately 15 minutes and Inn tours for 30-45 minutes. This event is open to all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

Special Focus Program for Stagecoach Days: Memories of the Mercantile Store – Join us at 11, 1 and 3 for “Memories of the Mercantile Store”. You will be introduced to the role Henry Fanthorp played in establishing one of the first mercantile stores in this part of Texas. The program will last approximately thirty-five to forty minutes and is open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult.

March 18, 2017 – Living History Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Independence Hall and the Old Washington Town site): Free to park visitors. 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. Try your hand at writing with a quill pen and sign a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Visit with militia soldiers travelling through town or try your hand at some early Texas games. Step back in time and discover the spot where Texas became Texas! (Activities will vary and some are weather dependent) This program will feature: Kids Focus to include, children’s toys, quill pen writing, dress-up and hands-on laundry, Blacksmithing demonstration. Traditional tours of Independence Hall will not be offered these days. For more information, contact Jon Failor at (936) 878-2214 ext. 224 or jon.failor(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

March 18, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Wildflower Ornaments: 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. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236 or Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

March 25 & 26, 2017- Beasts of Burden: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Barrington Farm): Turning the fields over, after lying fallow, and plowing under green manure is a rite of spring. See our oxen and other draft animals prepare our fields in this time-honored tradition, and compare their equipment and working styles. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. both days. For more information, contact Bruce Wardlow at (936) 878-2214 ext. 246 or bruce.wardlow(at)tpwd.texas(dot)gov.

April 15, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Tissue 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. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236 or Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

May 20, 2017 - Hands-On-History – Buzz Saw Toys: 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. For more information, contact Donna Barker at (936) 878-2461 ext. 236 or Donna.barker(at)blinn(dot)edu.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site
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 free admission to the Site’s attractions for a year, and—for some levels—private parties during the park’s special celebrations.
The Park: The expansive park grounds of this state park 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.

Leashed pets are allowed in the 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.

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