What landscapes do people identify as sacred? How do people assign meaning to a place? From the backyard vegetable garden to a favorite vista, we establish personal connections with our environment, and connections that are a reflection of our group identity. This exhibit uses descriptions of Texas from diaries dating to the late 1600s, and contemporary journals of the East Texas landscape to explore the many ways we connect with our environment.
In the late seventeenth century, Franciscan priests recorded some of the earliest written descriptions of the East Texas landscape. Traveling into the northern borderlands of the Spanish Empire, the explorers followed Native American trails that we now refer to as El Camino Real north from Mexico City, across Texas, and into northwest Louisiana. Officials and clergy recorded an 'inventory' of the new land. But they also recorded some of their reactions to the unfamiliar plants and animals, and new cultures. The diaries are a window on their point of view as are the place names they scattered across Texas. Place names, such as the Trinity River, remind us of the spiritual heritage of the earliest chroniclers of Texas and remain a part of our Texas heritage.
In 2011, twenty-five volunteers took another look at the landscape of eastern Texas with an exploration of their environment and their spiritual connection to the land. The pilot project, designed by Kelley Snowden and Tom Segady of Stephen F. Austin State University, focused on seven Christian congregations in Nacogdoches, Texas and used a study method known as Photovoice. Snowden and Segady gave each volunteer a 'point and shoot' camera and a journal. Responding to a set of questions relating to their spiritual relationship with the land, volunteers chose places to photograph and to write about in their journals. Taken together, the 329 collected photographs and journal entries illustrate that faith has geography. The project photographs are a mix of natural, public and private landscapes.
The seventeenth century diarists recorded the things that mattered to them and connected with new places, things and people through the lens of their religion. The Photovoice project asked volunteers to train their spiritual lens on a very familiar landscape to identify the things that matter. Presented side-by-side along with objects that speak to our connection with the land, the journals of the past and the journals of the present reveal our ongoing connection to, and interaction with, our environment.
For questions, please contact the Museum at 936.468.2408 or by email at email@example.com
Grants and Exhibitions Workshop Photos
"We must never forget that human motives are generally far more complicated than we are apt to suppose, and that we can very rarely accurately describe the motives of another." - Dostoyevsky
To read more, visit the CRHR Archaeology Blog.
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"A research associate at the Center for Regional Heritage Research at Stephen F. Austin State University is wrapping up 3-D scanning and analysis of dozens of prehistoric Caddo artifacts that will be returned to the Caddo Nation this fall. At least 130 museums have human remains and funerary objects affiliated with the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, according to its cultural preservation office."
* Quote from Red River Radio NPR; written by Kate Archer Kent
To read more from the NPR Red River Radio site, click here.
The Hoya building at 116 S. Pecan in downtown Nacogdoches is currently being restored. To document the process, CRHR staff will be stopping by 2-3 times a week to take a series of photographs as the restoration proceeds. These photos will be loaded into a slide show showing the progress of the work over time. Full restoration is expected to take one year. Currently the structure is being stabilized and decorative brickwork is being restored. Check back periodically to see what changes have taken place as work continues on this historic structure.
Read more about the Hoya building in the City of Nacogdoches Historic Site Survey at http://www.sfasu.edu/heritagecenter/1174.asp
To view the project, click here.
We are a community of scholars and researchers from across East Texas who investigate and document the natural and cultural heritage of the region.
We seek to broaden our collective understanding of our shared history, to map the human geography of East Texas, and to construct a "usable past" that can be utilized as a resource for community and economic development.Move your mouse over the map and click on a county or parish to learn more about it's unique history.