San Jacinto Museum Opens New Exhibit "Big Energy: A Texas Tale of People Powering Progress"

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The San Jacinto Museum of History has opened its new exhibition, “Big Energy: A Texas Tale of People Powering Progress," about the history of the Shell refinery in Deer Park.

Delivery wagon from the first quarter 20th century. The three black caps at the top were where three grades of fuel were loaded, for delivery to individual homes.

“Since the establishment of Shell in the Deer Park community in 1929, the company and city have had a special bond that continues to this day and is truly a case study for shared value between an industry and the community,” said Amanda Accardo, Shell Deer Park External Relations Manager.

The San Jacinto Museum of History has opened its new exhibition, “Big Energy: A Texas Tale of People Powering Progress,” which explores how the opening of the Shell refinery in Deer Park nearly nine decades ago transformed the town and how the growth of the petrochemical industry along the Houston Ship Channel continues to impact many areas of life in the region.

The exhibit content is structured around three main areas: the shared history of many of the organizations that make up the community of Deer Park; an incredible automated immersive experience that illustrates how oil and natural gas get from the well to the refinery to the many outlets that use petrochemical products to power progress; and a finale that features how prevalent the products made from what is refined along the Ship Channel are in our everyday lives, and explores how the exhibit-goer can be a part of powering progress in the future.

The exhibition is designed for middle schoolers, families, and adults and features a number of multimedia displays and touchscreen interactives. One of the highlights of the show is the Shellegram, named after Shell Deer Park’s long-running employee newsletter. This touchscreen app features thousands of photos and video clips from over 30 local institutions and city notables, with many of the entries dating from the first few decades of the 20th century. This photographic history of the region and its transformation into the energy hub it is today is complimented by a neighboring exhibit that features a time-lapse map that documents the changing landscape and demographics of the region over the past hundred years.

At its heart, this exhibit explores the relationship between the Shell manufacturing site and the community that has grown up around it, and how this legacy continues to influence residents and businesses.

“Since the establishment of Shell in the Deer Park community in 1929, the company and city have had a special bond that continues to this day and is truly a case study for shared value between an industry and the community,” said Amanda Accardo, Shell Deer Park External Relations Manager. “Throughout the years, caring people behind both entities invested themselves into a growing industry and city, and, as a result, collectively powered progress not only for this community, but the world. This is their story, and we’re proud to help tell it alongside our community.”

Deer Park City Council member and local historian Sherry Garrison said she is excited about the exhibit that opens October 6. “Part of this presentation will focus on Shell and the City of Deer Park's shared early history,” she added. “This shared history affected the growth and success of the City of Deer Park as well as the individuals who worked for Shell, became the city’s pioneers and will become the future leaders of our city.”

Guests who visit the show will also receive a stamp on their ticket that will provide a one-time, 10 percent discount at each of five Deer Park restaurants, including: Antonio’s Italian Restaurant in Deer Park, BiBi’s House of Kebab, Deer Park Sushi, Pappa Geno’s Steak and Cheese and the Republic Grill at the Battleground Golf Course.

The San Jacinto Museum of History is operated by the San Jacinto Museum of History Association—a non-profit organization—in association with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The Museum of History owns the collections of artifacts and documents inside of the Monument and staffs the elevator ride to the observation floor, movie, library and exhibition spaces.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates and maintains the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, which consists of the San Jacinto Battleground, Monument and Battleship Texas. The San Jacinto Battlefield and the Battleship Texas are both National Historic Landmarks; the monument is a National Civic Engineering Landmark.

Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children under 11. Free for museum members. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Address is One Monument Circle, La Porte (Houston), 77571. For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History, please call (281) 479-2421 or visit http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org or the museum’s Facebook page.

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Lydia Duncombe
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