Why did UTSA conduct a visioning initiative for ITC?

As we look ahead to the next 50 years of the Institute of Texan Cultures, now is the time to reimagine how the ITC, its museum and programs fully engage our communities, capitalizing on the current social climate that promotes social dialogue and collective action, as well as the redevelopment of Hemisfair and placemaking in downtown San Antonio.

For Texas

The Institute of Texan Cultures has the only museum of its kind in the state entirely devoted to preserving the rich cultural history of Texas and Texans.

We want to preserve and promote the ITC’s tremendous assets for all Texans. The institute’s resources should be available to people in every corner of the state, and by taking full advantage of technology, we can make the museum experience more accessible and compelling.

We want the institute to connect more deeply and more broadly with people in ways that complement traditional, in-person visits to the museum.

For San Antonio

The Institute of Texan Cultures opened during the 1968 World’s Fair, known as Hemisfair ’68, as the Texas State Exhibits Pavilion. The international event coincided with the 250 th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio in 1718 and led to the growth of the Alamo City’s downtown core, the expansion of its River Walk and a focus on becoming a world tourism destination.

Just as Hemisfair ’68 spurred the growth of downtown San Antonio, the ITC is an important part of the current redevelopment of Hemisfair and will contribute positively and impactfully to its long-term vision. A well-conceived roadmap will allow the institute to grow alongside Hemisfair and support the revitalization of our downtown core. Moreover, it will strengthen the placemaking efforts that are reimagining public spaces in the heart of our community to create inspiring places where San Antonians want to live, work, play and learn.

For our students

The ITC welcomes all learners, and field trips to the ITC have long been a rite of passage for many Texas schoolchildren. By sharing the state’s rich mosaic of cultures and their impact on us as Texans, the ITC is inspiring K-12 students across Texas as the next generation of cultural enthusiasts and supporting their teachers with valuable educational resources.

Also, as a university museum, the ITC also benefits from strong and frequent collaboration with UTSA faculty and students. Our faculty scholars in the social sciences and liberal arts can further increase the vibrance and relevancy of the ITC’s teaching and research resources. UTSA is on the way to becoming a premier public research university, joining the top tier of institutions of higher education in the US, and the ITC is an important part of that journey.

For our culture

At the ITC, people around the world are introduced—some for the first time—to the rich tapestry of cultures that make up Texas and their contributions to the state’s extraordinary character.

The ITC was one of the first organizations to share the historical contributions of Mexican Americans to Texas. Continuing this tradition, the institute will increase discourse and visibility around the advocacy and equity efforts of Mexican Americans while celebrating the many unique cultures that comprise Texas.

Indeed, the story of Texas is ever evolving. To learn from the past and better inform the future, the institute will provide educational experiences and spark dialogues around differing historic and cultural perspectives that encourage new thinking about — and a better understanding of — our future as Texans.

Why was community stakeholder visioning the right first step?

Community Visioning was a necessary first step for all subsequent actions.

  • Advocates by broad engagement,
  • Builds community enthusiasm necessary for sustainability for next 50 years and beyond,
  • Makes the case for philanthropic support as a part of UTSA’s capital campaign,
  • Defines the requirements fundamental to any real estate partnering proposal, and
  • Delineates the impact that is the basis for continued legislative support.

UTSA is deeply committed to further growing the Institute of Texan Cultures over the next 50 years by incorporating new voices and new expressions of culture. Ultimately, we want to make the museum experience more accessible and more compelling so Texas’ rich cultural tapestry can be shared with as many people as possible, whether they choose to engage with the institute virtually or by visiting its museum.

Veronica Garcia Rodriguez, ITC interim head curator