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Institute of Texan Cultures
Institute of Texan Cultures, UTSA HemisFair Park Campus

Institute of Texan Cultures: State resource

By Marianne McBride Lewis
Director of Public Affairs

(May 7, 2009)--The Institute of Texan Cultures on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus in downtown San Antonio is a museum with a two-pronged mission. As a popular tourist destination within walking distance of the historic Alamo, most people know it as the state's cultural heritage museum... one that offers thousands of visitors a year interactive exhibits and displays that tell the stories of Texans.

But, it is the museum's core purpose that is most important for Texas teachers and school children -- to provide information-based training, programs and resources that fulfill its state mandate to be an educational resource for Texas teachers.

In 1986, the University of Texas System Board of Regents instructed the Institute of Texan Cultures to evaluate the needs of Texas educators and establish teacher-training programs to address those needs.

Over the last two decades, as teachers' expectations and state curricula have changed, the institute's staff also has changed and adjusted the way they deliver useful, efficient services that benefit Texas educators.

"The museum is actively pursuing new delivery methods including Web-based tools that will allow it to deliver comprehensive resources to teachers across Texas," said Tim Gette, ITC executive director.

"We are also enhancing the museum's in-house services for educators. These initiatives will solidify the Institute of Texan Cultures' position as the premier resource on Texas cultural heritage."

Educational resources currently in place for Texas Teachers include:

  • Student field trips to ITC's exhibit floor and outdoor interpretive history area: Last year, 450 classroom teachers participated.
  • Teacher training seminars on a variety of Texas-related topics: Last year, the museum hosted 360 college students studying to become Texas educators.
  • Videoconferencing broadcasts of educational programming directly into classrooms: Last year more than 40 classroom teachers participated.
  • Classroom visits by volunteer museum docents who travel to schools within a 75-mile radius of San Antonio and facilitate history and cultural presentations: Last year 575 classroom teachers participated.
  • Access to online teaching tools including instructional materials, Texas history lesson plans and teacher guides
  • Access to ITC's 7,000 books and periodicals on the history and cultures of Texas, a collection of 700 oral histories and a comprehensive 3.5 million photo archive of historical Texas images

The ITC staff is actively reaching out to Texas Teachers before summer break to schedule programs for the next academic year.

The Institute of Texan Cultures is a cultural experience museum dedicated to engaging lifelong learners in the understanding and celebration of Texas cultural heritage. The 182,000 square-foot complex features 65,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and displays.

The museum develops quality, accessible resources for educators and lifelong learners on topics of cultural heritage and strives to develop a rich and vibrant culture in the arts and humanities that will expand the community's awareness and appreciation of Texas through an engaging series of exhibits, programs and special events.

To learn more about the Institute of Texan Cultures and its educational resource program, call the museum's education and research department at (210) 458-2281.

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