On Saturday during PBS NewsHour, we go behind the scenes of a new exhibit at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. La Belle: The Ship that Changed History is unique. Museum goers can watch in real time as curators re-build a 17th Century ship, which spent 300 years underwater in Matagorda Bay.
La Belle belonged to Sieur de La Salle, a French explorer who came to the New World in 1684. He was on his way to the mouth of the Mississippi River, missed it, and landed in Texas.
“He would eventually lose the La Belle in a storm in 1686,” Guest Curator Jim Bruseth explains in our story. “The sinking of the La Belle doomed La Salle’s attempt to establish a colony. Because of that, the French presence in Texas faded, but the scare that it put in the Spanish king started the efforts to colonize and occupy Texas by Spain.”
That scare is why La Belle is called the ship that changed Texas history. The exhibit is open now and runs through May 17, 2015.
KLRU News Briefs air locally during PBS NewsHour Weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30pm.