June 22 is the last day for visitors to explore the exhibit, “On the Run: Currency, Credit and Capitals of the Republic of Texas,” on display at the Texas Capitol Visitors Center in Austin.
More than 43,000 visitors in February, March, and April have already gotten a “taste” of Texas numismatics with a side of history. That includes 23,764 students on guided tours, according to Kyle Schlafer, program supervisor for the Texas Capitol Visitors Center.
The exhibit focuses on the financial history of Texas when it was an independent nation.
The display, curated by James P. Bevill, author of The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas, includes more than 80 money-related documents, the majority of them from private collectors.
The exhibit arranges the pieces largely in chronological order to trace the economic, political and social history of Texas from the revolution through the annexation by the United States in 1846.
The Austin exhibit “is almost entirely numismatic, and brings this unique theme deep into the heart of Texas,” Bevill said. “It is part of my long term efforts to bring the study of history through numismatics out into the mainstream.”
Bevill said the exhibit was “brought together by a handful of private collectors and with loans of material from the John N. Rowe III Collection of Texas Currency at the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston — Special Collections Library and the American Numismatic Association.”
He said the exhibit uses numismatics “to tell the economic story in a way that had not been done before. Each case has a theme which is summarized in a storyboard panel illustrated with graphics, along with a narrative on the state of the government at that point in time. The narrative describes the attempts to finance the war effort and later sustain its independence with an empty treasury.”
Those who want a preview of the exhibit or who will not be in Texas to see the exhibit in person may take an online tour at www.tspb.state.tx.us/CVC/exhibits/new.html.
The Texas Capitol Visitors Center is located on the southeast corner of the Capitol Grounds and is housed in the General Land Office Building, which was completed in 1857.