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Sam Rayburn Museum: Reimagined and Reopened

Briscoe Center, Congressman Ralph Hall to reopen museum after comprehensive renovation

November 2, 2012

New exhibit at the Rayburn Museum.

BONHAM, Texas — The Sam Rayburn Museum will reopen Sunday, November 11, after a comprehensive renovation of its permanent exhibit, the first major overhaul of the exhibit since the museum opened more than fifty years ago. Congressman Ralph Hall, whose support made the renovation possible, will attend and participate in the ceremony, which begins at 1:30 p.m. The Rayburn Museum is a division of the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

 "I’m delighted that visitors will enjoy an entirely new experience with the tour of the Rayburn Museum beginning November 11th. Speaker Rayburn's legacy can now be better understood because of new digital features and restored treasures," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "The museum has been reimagined for the 21st-century visitor. I am grateful to Congressman Ralph Hall for his robust advocacy of local history."

New interactive exhibit at Rayburn Museum.

Sam Rayburn served as congressman during the administrations of eight presidents. Along with another Texan, Vice President John Nance Garner, he played a critical role in passing much of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation. He first became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1940 and held the position for longer than any other congressman in U.S. history.

Briscoe Center staff, both in Bonham and Austin, have spent many hours developing the exhibit. Additionally, a new resource has been created – the archives explorer – which enables visitors to interact with Rayburn's papers through a digital touchscreen interface. Archivists have combed through the Rayburn Papers and other political collections held at the Briscoe Center to digitize the most significant items that illustrate the life and legacy of "Mr. Sam."

"The museum has always been an important educational resource for the Bonham and Fannin County community," said Dr. Carleton. "It's something that puts us on the map, connecting us in a special way to the national narrative. We're confident that the renovations will deepen this connection and enhance the educational power of local history."

Visitors will enjoy light refreshments, live entertainment and a tour of the new exhibit.

Event Details:

Sunday, November 11, 2012. 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sam Rayburn Museum, 800 W. Sam Rayburn Drive, Bonham, TX. (Next to Fort Inglish Park.)

For more information, please contact Kristen Nesbitt at (512) 495-4609 or

Press Contact: Ben Wright · Public Affairs Officer · · 512 592 0061