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The University of Texas at Austin


Sam Rayburn Museum Temporarily Closed for Exhibit Upgrades

September 27, 2012

BONHAM, Texas — The Sam Rayburn Museum, located in Bonham, Texas, is temporarily closed to the public for major exhibit upgrades. The new exhibits will include interactive components, restored archival treasures, and a fresh look at the life and legacy of "Mr. Sam."

Rayburn Museum
The Rayburn Museum.

Current plans call for the museum to reopen to the public in November. The Rayburn Museum is a division of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

"The Rayburn Museum is is a keystone of our Congressional and Political History Collections and an important educational resource for the Bonham community," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "We are grateful for the support of Congressman Ralph Hall, whose efforts made the funding of this renovation possible."

The new exhibits explore Rayburn’s life and career, and depict the importance of the role of the Speaker of the House. Visitors will encounter such topics as Rayburn's relationships with other national leaders, his political style and tactics, and specific examples of how his efforts shaped national policy, such as New Deal reforms and leadership during World War II. The Archives Explorer, a new interactive exhibit feature, brings the Briscoe Center's political collections to visitors in an entirely new way. The museum also features an exact replica of the office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives during Rayburn’s tenure in that position.

The renovation also enabled important conservation work on some of the Rayburn Museum's treasures, including two historical items Rayburn brought to Bonham from the U.S. House of Representatives: an American flag that hung behind the Speaker’s Rostrum, and a portion of the House’s seat row (circa 1900s).

The renovation of the Rayburn Museum’s exhibits was funded through an appropriation made to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

For more information, contact Ben Wright, public affairs representative, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 512-495-4204.