October 28 - November 5, 2000: Our Fall Trip: Oklahoma
August 18-21, 2000: Rudolf Lowenstein Visits Dallas
Return to the Index for 2000


September 29 - October 1, 2000
A Trip to Austin

 

This weekend, Fred and I have come down to Austin to see Frank, Joe and Linda Hamilton perform at a Pioneer Festival that was being held just outside of town. We drove down on Friday evening and stayed in a motel north of town, and then spent Saturday at the Pioneer Festival. That night, the five of us had dinner together. Sunday, before we headed back, we visited the LBJ Museum down near the University of Texas at Austin.

 

The Pioneer Festival

We spent most of the day at the Pioneer Festival where Frank, Joe and Linda did some of their cowboy and cowgirl poetry, and Frank did a selection of some of the songs he does in his programs at Garner State Park near their home in the Hill Country.


Other than watching our three friends perform, we wandered about with them looking at the various exhibits, which included all kinds of pioneer activities. There were demonstrations of frontier cooking and home crafts, as well as what seemed like a large number of actual pioneers (all in period costume, of course). We took quite a few pictures of our friends during the day, and some photos of the various exhibits as well.

Click on the thumbnails below to see some of the pictures we took:


We enjoyed the festival a great deal, and of course our friends' performances are always a treat. And the five of us had a really nice dinner that evening.

 

The LBJ Presidential Library

On Sunday, Fred and I planned to make a visit to the LBJ Presidential Library, and also a sculpture garden just across the river from downtown. The map below will show you the area of downtown Austin that we'll be exploring.


At the dedication of his library in 1971, Lyndon Baines Johnson said:

             "It is all here: the story of our time with the bark off...This library will show the facts, not just the joy and triumphs, but the sorrow and failures, too."             

These words capture the 36th President's intent to make all the records of his administration available to all Americans— and to let them render their own verdict as to his place in history. While we did not take any pictures inside the museum, I thought you might still want to know a bit of what we learned about it. The mission of the Library, as noted on a bronze plaque at the entrance, is "to preserve preserve and protect the historical materials in the collections of the library and make them readily accessible; to increase public awareness of the American experience through relevant exhibitions and educational programs; to advance the Library's standing as a center for intellectual activity and community leadership while meeting the challenges of a changing world."

Situated on a 30-acre site on The University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, the Library houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos and 5,000 hours of recordings from President Johnson's political career, including about 643 hours of his recorded telephone conversations. The iconic ten-story building was designed by award-winning architect Gordon Bunshaft and features a Great Hall with a stunning four-story, glass-encased view of the archives collection. A centerpiece in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library is the photo-engraving mural by artist Naomi Savage. Approximately 100,000 visitors from around the world visit the LBJ Library exhibits each year.

The museum collection contains more than fifty-four thousand objects donated by the President and Mrs. Johnson, their family, close friends, associates, and the American people. Like that of most history museums, the collection is very diverse and includes objects ranging from Middle Eastern antiquities and coins to postage stamps to Oval Office furniture. The art collection ranges from drawings by schoolchildren to masterpieces by such renowned artists as Americans Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and Winslow Homer and Mexican Diego Rivera.

The core of the museum collection consists of personal objects owned, used, bought, or worn by the president and first lady, all donated by President Johnson. These objects include the clothing worn by the President and First Lady at the 1964 inauguration, pens, paper, and chairs used in the Oval Office, the desk used for the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and thousands of objects related to their daily lives, official duties, and political events.

We enjoyed our visit to the museum immensely, and could easily have spent the entire day there. But by early afternoon, we had to drag ourselves away.

 

The University of Texas

Before and after visiting the LBJ Library, we had a chance to walk around the area of downtown Austin that is part of the campus of the University of Texas. There, we found a couple of very nice fountains, and also the Burleson Bells. (The University's old Victorian-Gothic Main Building, constructed in 1882, was razed in 1934 to provide a new library and additional space. All that remains of the old building are its chime bells- the "Burleson Bells"- which are now exhibited as part of a permanent display outside the university's Bass Concert Hall.) A couple of the fountains and the site of the bells are marked on the aerial view below. To see either fountain, or the bells, just click on it:

We took a few more pictures of these fountains while walking around, and you can click on the thumbnail images below to have a look at them:

 

Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

For our last stop here in Austin, we drove south from downtown and across the Colorado River to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.


The Umlauf Sculpture Garden represents so much that is quintessentially Austin: superb art casually set in a shady garden of native Texas plants, a natural oasis near Barton Springs and only blocks from the heart of an urban capital city. Originally an area with small ponds used by soldiers to practice fly casting during the late 1930s and 1940s, these four acres were then forgotten for the next four decades, lost under dewberry vines and illicit dumping.

In 1991, the property was transformed into a sculpture garden for the dozens of bronze and stone pieces given to the city of Austin by noted 20th century American sculptor Charles Umlauf. The xeriscape garden, with its waterfall and streams muffling the sounds of traffic, gives visitors a peaceful place in which to contemplate the sculptures or their own thoughts. As the seasons change, so do the natural environment and light around each sculpture. Visitors follow the gravel path laid out as a giant peace symbol; children and the visually impaired gently touch the sculptures; friends talk on the secluded benches; and there is the occasional dance or music performance.

If you would like to see some of the sculpture pieces from the garden (or one of the artificial steams), just click on the thumbnail images below:

We also took a couple of pictures in the shady area of the garden where the stream, waterfalls and pools are located, and these two pictures are below:

Late in the afternoon, we left the sculpture garden to head back home to Dallas. It was a very pleasant Austin weekend.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


October 28 - November 5, 2000: Our Fall Trip: Oklahoma
August 18-21, 2000: Rudolf Lowenstein Visits Dallas
Return to the Index for 2000