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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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17th-century ship anchors in Austin

 
 

The La Belle exhibit was installed at the Bullock Texas State History Museum on Saturday in Austin.
La Belle was sailed by Robert La Salle, the French explorer who sailed through the Gulf of Mexico in 1684, said Jim Bruseth, guest curator at the Bullock Museum.
Bruseth said La Salle found himself in Matagorda Bay along the Texas coast when he was in search of the Mississippi River. Wanting to see if he was close to the Mississippi River, La Salle moved all of his supplies to the La Belle, set up a small colony on the coast and moved inland. While he was gone, a storm came through, sinking La Belle. For more than 300 years, no one knew where exactly the ship was.
In 1995, the ship was recovered in Matagorda Bay near Houston, and Bruseth and his team excavated it from Texas waters. In 1997 the reassembling project was given to Peter Fix, member of the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M, and his team, according to a university press release.
During this process, the Bullock Museum was built. While the museum tells the history of Texas, its original purpose was to house the La Belle, Bruseth said. Each piece of the ship was refurbished and freeze dried before it was shipped via truck to the Bullock Museum in a reassembly process that took 17 years, Bruseth said.
The final pieces of the ship were moved from Texas A&M to Austin on Jul. 17, and the ship’s exhibit opened Saturday. Visitors to the museum can watch as the museum curators reassemble the ship in the museum, which is expected to be complete in November 2015, Bruseth said.
Photo by Jennifer Reiley

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