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Texas Tales
Texas Tales
"Texas Trails and Tales" program

ITC hosts 'Texas Trails and Tales' summer program

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(June 25, 2007)--UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures and its junior docent team will offer visitors a glimpse of life on the Texas frontier June 19 through July 28 in the annual program, "Texas Tales and Trails." As costumed storytellers and interpreters, they will bring to life the Back 40 interpretive learning area for the annual program.

Usually only open for special events and group tours, the Back 40 is a living history area at the ITC. The outdoor exhibits include a one-room schoolhouse, a barn, a log cabin, an adobe house, an old frontier fort, a windmill and a chuck wagon. The junior docents have studied each of the buildings and the ways of life associated with them. Dressed in typical frontier fashion, they will lead discussion and activities at each station.

"Texas Trails and Tales draws heavily on the junior docent corps," said Karen Sanchez, ITC education specialist. "Many of our historic interpreters start with the program as early as the seventh grade. It's wonderful to see them in positions where they can interact confidently with our visitors and share their knowledge of Texas history."

Each structure on the Back 40 will have related, themed activities. At the log cabin, visitors can do the laundry using homemade lye soap, an old washtub and a washboard. There will be roping and spur making at the barn. Visitors can "enlist" in the Buffalo Soldiers Company and march at the old fort. After a quick class with quill pen and slate writing in the one-room schoolhouse, guests can try their hands at schoolyard games like marbles and hopscotch. At the adobe house, guests can make colorful papel picada decorations and weave Ojos de Dios religious emblems.

The ITC has hosted "Texas Trails and Tales" since 2001 and has more than 3,000 visitors annually. A group of approximately 130 junior docents commits more than 10,000 hours of community service to the project.

"Texas Trails and Tales" is included with ITC regular admission, $7 for adults and $4 for children, seniors and military with ID. Back 40 hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. The museum floor hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m., Sunday, and closed Monday.

For more information, visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site or call (210) 458-2330.

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