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The University of Texas at Austin


Sam Rayburn Museum and Creative Arts Center present Breaking In, Breaking Out: The photographs of Margaret Sandahl Thomas, 1967–1997

Exhibit and opening reception held March 19, 2009, in honor of Women's History Month

Homecoming from the Gulf War, as a soldier greets his family at Langley Air Force Base, Norfolk, Virginia, 1991.  Margaret Sandahl Thomas Photographs  CN09945 The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Homecoming from the Gulf War, as a
soldier greets his family at Langley Air
Force Base, Norfolk, Virginia, 1991.
Margaret Sandahl Thomas
Photographs; CN09945. The Dolph
Briscoe Center for American History,
The University of Texas at Austin.

Bonham, Texas—"Breaking In, Breaking Out: The Photographs of Margaret Sandahl Thomas, 1967–1997" features 70 photographs highlighting Thomas's work for the Washington Post and freelance activities. Presented by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the exhibit is a cooperative effort of the Sam Rayburn Museum and the Creative Arts Center. The exhibition opens March 19, 2009, and will be on display at both locations through the month of March. The exhibition will continue at the Sam Rayburn Museum through June 12, 2009. A reception in honor of the exhibit’s opening will be held at both locations Thursday, March 19, 2009 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The reception also celebrates Women's History Month and honors the women leaders in the Bonham community.

In 1966, Thomas broke ground as the first female photographer hired by the Washington Post. Over the years her assignments encompassed local, national, and international news, including Congress and the White House, anti-war demonstrations, the Reagan-Gorbachev Geneva Summit, Haiti during the aftermath of the Duvalier era, the repatriation of Haitian boat people, East and West Germany on the eve of reunification, military women in Europe, and the politics of Israel and Panama. In addition to political situations, Thomas also focused on aspects of everyday life in America, including convent life, Mardi Gras celebrations in Louisiana, horse-breeding and fox hunting in Virginia, and the impact of droughts on Midwestern farm families. The recipient of several photojournalism awards, Thomas's work has been featured at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and numerous university and community galleries across the country.

In 1995 Thomas went on leave from the Washington Post to work on her dissertation in photojournalism at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1998 she placed her photographic archive (view finding aid) at the University's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, where it is included in the News Media History Archive.  Documenting the development of the American news media industry, this extensive archive includes the collections of nationally recognized photojournalists whose images have captured important national and international newsmakers and events.

A division of the Briscoe Center, the Sam Rayburn Museum is open to the public for visitation and tours. It contains exhibits on Sam Rayburn's life and career and features an exact replica of the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives during Rayburn's tenure in that position. It also houses Rayburn's personal library and an extensive collection of books that relate to his career or to the people, issues, and events with which he dealt during his years of public service. Admission is free.

The Creative Arts Center is a project of the Fannin Community Foundation, Inc., a public, non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to creating, implementing, and maintaining educational, social, cultural, and recreational programs based on traditional values, which benefit children, youth, adults, and senior citizens. With the support of individuals, local churches, civic organizations, and other community groups, the Fannin Community Foundation, Inc. provides innovative approaches to meet emerging needs in Fannin County. The fifteen members of the Board of Directors all come from the Fannin County community and are dedicated to the missions of the foundation and its two facilities. Admission is free.

For more information contact:
Sam Rayburn Museum, Emma Trent, 903-583-2455
Creative Arts Center, Barbara Reeves, 903-640-2196