Tag Archives: TMFM

Texas Military Forces Museum, Austin, TX – Hands on History

(See my other Texas Military forces Museum related posts) – The Texas Military Forces Museum will host their annual Hands-On History Night on Saturday, 2 July 2022.

Photo from Hands-On History 2021

This is a unique opportunity to speak with members of the Living History Detachment. They will be in uniform and have kit on display from 200 years of Texas military history. Several vehicles on display inside the museum will be open.

Walk through 200 years of Texas military history in the 28,000 sq.ft. of interior Museum displays. View 50 vehicles and aircraft on display outside the museum. 

Enter Camp Mabry via the 35th street entrance. A photo ID is required for all visitors. For further information as to the location and entrance requirements see the website

Living History Weekend at Camp Mabry

( See my other Texas Military Forces Museum posts) – The Living History detachment of the Texas National Guard will be presenting a Living History weekend on April 30 – May 1. This will be on both Saturday and Sunday. An 18th Century weapons demo will be held at 11:30 each day. Those will be followed at 1PM with a WWII reenactment.

Walk through 200 years of Texas military history in the 28,000 sq.ft. of interior Museum displays. View 50 vehicles and aircraft on display outside the museum.

Enter Camp Mabry via the 35th street entrance. A photo ID is required for all visitors. For further information as to the location and entrance requirements see the website.

Relive a Civil War battle at the Texas Military Forces Museum

On the weekend of March 12-13, B Company operating under the auspices of the Texas Military Forces Museum will present Battlefield 1863. B Company is part of the official living history detachment of the Texas National Guard. Officially the group represents B Company, Red River Battalion of the 4th Texas Infantry in Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia.

Presentations will be made at 1PM on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free and there will be ample free parking. Enter Camp Mabry through the main gate off of 35th street. Full directions are on the website. A photo ID for all adults is required for admission to the post.

The Texas Military Forces Museum will be open from 10AM until 4PM on both days. Come inside the museum and browse through 26,000 square feet of exhibits. The museum documents the military heritage of Texas from the 1830s through today’s operations in the Middle East. Outside the museum are nearly 50 more military aircraft and vehicles on display.

WWII Themed Dinner & Dance at the Texas Military Forces Museum

(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum Related posts) – I have been volunteering with the Texas Military Forces Museum as a Docent for more than two years. While it has been open since the late 90s, relatively few Austin locals know about the Museum. When I speak with visitors, I have found that most are from out of town or out of state. If you live in or visit the Austin, TX area, you should make a point of visiting the Museum. 

The Museum encompasses 45,000 sq. ft. of inside space, containing around 30,000 items in the collection. The collection continues outside the building with nearly 50 more military vehicles and aircraft. The Museum documents the story of the Texas Military Forces from the early militias in the 1830s through today’s War on Terror. 

As with many Museums, funding is always an important consideration. Much of the Museum’s funding comes from the Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation. I have been a member of the Foundation since I began volunteering. You can help preserve our Texas Military History by either joining the Foundation or by making a donation. The Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year is their annual Sweetheart Dinner Dance. 

The WWII-themed event will take place at the Museum on 12 February 2022. It begins at 6:30 pm and will feature the talented Sentimental Journey Orchestra under the direction of Ted Connerly. Dinner will be provided by Austin Catering (see the menu). A photo booth and souvenir glass will add to the vintage atmosphere. The silent auction will feature items like a ride in the Sherman Tank, themed baskets, and much more.

Tickets are $100 per person. They can be purchased in person at the Museum store or via:

Seating is limited.

Texas Military Forces Museum Event – Over There: 1918

(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum related posts) – The living history group at the Texas Military Forces Museum conducts reenactments several times each year. On both 20n & 21 November they will present a World War I battle reenactment.

The living history detachment operates under the auspices of the Texas Military Forces Museum. The members are all military history enthusiasts and volunteers with the Museum.

The 36th Infantry Division, which is what the Texas National Guard was federalized as in WWI, saw action in France. The Museum contains many artifacts from the WWI period. The reenactment brings to life some of the history of the war.

Texas Military Forces Museum Event – WWII Reenactment

(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum related posts) – The living history group at the Texas Military Forces Museum conducts a reenactment each year near Veterans Day. This year ‘G Company” will be presenting “Close Assault: 1944” the weekend of November 6–7, 2021.

G Company is part of the official living history detachment of the Texas National Guard. It operates under the auspices of the Texas Military Forces Museum. The members are all military history enthusiasts and volunteers with the Museum.

The 36th Infantry Division which is what the Texas National Guard was federalized as in WWII saw action in Europe. The Museum contains many artifacts from the WWII period. The reenactment brings to life some of the history from the war.

Further Information

  1. Book – From Texas to Rome: Fighting World War II and the Italian Campaign with the 36th Infantry Division

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If you have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 560 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

What it was like to be a Vietnam grunt

The Texas Military Forces Museum Foundation hosts a talk this coming Saturday evening. Foundation Board member John Eli will speak on his experiences in US Army Delta Company of the 27th Infantry Regiment. This is a great opportunity to learn a little about our military history and to support the Museum.

The talk will be held at the Museum from 5:30 – 8:00pm on Saturday 18 September. It is free for Foundation members and only $5 for non-members. To join the Foundation go to https://www.tmfhf.org. Directions for visiting the museum can be found here.

A valid, unexpired form of identification with a picture must be presented to enter the post.

Texas Military Forces Museum – Hands On History 2021

{see my other TMFM related posts) – As restrictions are being relaxed following COVID-19 the Texas Military Forces Museum is once again able to host events. The first was the living history presentation of the Vietnam War on Memorial Day. The next event will be the annual Hands On History night.

While the museum is located on Camp Mabry, it is open to the public. A valid, unexpired form of identification with a picture must be presented to enter the post. Admission to the Museum is free. Those wanting early access at this event will pay $5. That would put you early in line to access the vehicles and talk to the living history crew. Here are detailed directions on how to get to the museum. 

Hands On History 2019

As the name implies many of the exhibits that normally can only be viewed will be available to touch. There will also be a contingent of the living history group on hand to show off their kit and answer questions. I had the opportunity to attend the last Hands On History night in 2019. I really enjoyed the evening. 

Hands On History 2019

If you are interested in history this is a unique opportunity to get closer to it.

The Black Bean Incident and the Republic of Texas

(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum and Historyrelated posts) – As a docent at the Texas Military Forces Museum, I have lead several student tours. One of the popular exhibits relates to the ‘Black Bean Incident” from the days of the Texas Republic.

I had been planning on writing about this Incident for a while. Yesterday (March 25) was the anniversary of the Incident and the Museum staff posted the video above.

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Texas had defeated the Mexican Army led by Santa Anna in 1836 to win their independence. Mexican forces continued to harass the Texans in hopes of recovering needed territory.

On March 5, 1842, around 700 Mexican who had crossed into Texas took San Antonio. They soon retreated back into Mexico. Again on September 11 Mexican troops took San Antonio. This time the force was around 1400 men. This was part of an ongoing struggle between Texas and Mexico. They were fighting over the land between the Rio Grande and the Nueces rivers.

Texas President Houston dispatched the militia on November 25 to punish the Mexicans. This was also for Dawson Massacre and for financial gain. A force of more than 700 men left San Antonio. After some initial success, the expedition was abandoned. 

A group of around 300 of the militia chose to continue their raiding against orders. The privateer expedition recruited more followers from the La Grange, TX area. They headed into Mexico and contacted the Mexican Army at Ciudad Mier. This is what earned them the Mier Expedition name.

Initially, the Texans inflicted heavy casualties on the Mexicans. They surrendered after running short of supplies. The prisoners were marched back to Mexico. About 180 of them escaped, but were later recaptured.

The escaped prisoners incensed Santa Anna who ordered their execution. The United States and British diplomats interceded. Santa Anna relaxed his edict, but demanded that 1 in 10 must die.

The Mexicans filled a pot with 159 white and 17 black beans. The blindfolded prisoners drew beans. Those who drew white would remain captives. Those who drew black beans faced execution. The execution of those drawing the black beans occurred on March 25, 1843.

In 1848 the bodies of those who died in the Dawson Massacre and those who drew the black beans were recovered. They were interred south of La Grange, TX. The burial site is now part of a state park, the Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites. I have visited that park several times over the years. There is a monument there telling the story of the black beans.

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In the Texas Republic portion of the 19th Century gallery of the Museum is a pot filled with beans. The visitors have the opportunity to draw their own bean to see if they would have survived. This is always popular with the students I lead on tours. Surprisingly, they seem disappointed when they draw a white bean.

 

 

 

 

 

Further Reading:

  1. Mier expedition
  2. The Black Bean Lottery: October ’97 American History Feature
  3. Texas History 101: The Mier Expedition
  4. Luck of the Draw

Battleground 1863 at the Texas Military Forces Museum

Battleground

Updated 4/30/20

(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum related posts) – I was glad I had the opportunity to see the “Battleground 1863” demonstration performed by the Texas Military Forces Museum’s “B Company’ living history group this past weekend.

The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Austin, Texas at Camp Mabry. It is open to the public 10Am-4PM Tuesdays-Sundays.

 

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There was a good turn out both Saturday and Sunday with more than 250 spectators each day. Many were also first-time visitors to the museum so we saw a lot of new faces. So many people in the Austin area just never have heard of the museum.
B Company

“B Company” is a non-political organization. Their primary interest is to better understand the history of the United States and Texas. They use their knowledge of history to educate the public, honor our veterans and support the Texas Military Forces.

They take the role of B Company, 4th Texas Infantry, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia.

Authenticity standards, both physical and mental, are very high with the unit. Equipment, uniforms, tentage, weapons, etc. must be 100% authentic or accurate reproductions. Facial hair and haircuts must also conform to the military standards of the period.

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If YOU are interested in joining “B Company” contact txmilmuseum@gmail.com.

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The first part of the presentation was an explanation of the uniforms and equipment used by both the US and Confederate troops during the war by museum Director Jeff Hunt. Jeff is a student of the Civil War period in America and is the author of three books on the conflict.

IMG_8304One nice touch of the presentation was ‘drafting’ all 10-19-year-olds from the audience and training them how to do a ‘simple’ drill. That was to both educate them and to show how difficult the training was for both sides with new recruits.

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A short distance from the field where the demonstration was held a typical Civil War era camp was set up for the spectators to visit.

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Inside the museum, we were lucky to have a table set up for Christopher Kelly (http://americainvaded.com), an author of non-fiction history books. I have a copy of his “America Invades” and have begun to read it. A review will be posted in the near future. I have finished reading the book and have posted a review on my Blog.

Muster-Day-handout2020The next special event to be held at the museum will be ‘Muster Day’ on the weekend of April 18-19, 2020. Per the museum website:

Muster Day traces it’s roots back to when Texas was still a republic. In the early days, on an annual basis, the troops were ‘mustered’ or called to report. Over the years, the mustering of the troops became obsolete. However, the Texas Military Forces Museum as part of the Texas Military Forces yearly Open House at Camp Mabry, holds a Muster Day where reenactors of all periods from the Texas Revolution through current times can display their historical uniforms, weapons and equipment and show them to the general public. There is a large WWII battle reenactment each day. These battles feature 200 Allied and German soldiers recreating a WWII battle using original equipment, tanks, and weapons from the time period. The museum will be open Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Gates open at 8 am each day. As well as the museum events, there will be displays by the Texas Military Forces, helicopter demos, First Responders, children’s activities, Vietnam Wall Memorial, and much, much more.