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New La Salle Exhibition Installation

Soon the City by the Sea Museum will house a state-of-the-art, interactive exhibit that tells the whole story, right where so much of it happened. Below are its main elements:

As the visitor walks through the main entrance of the building they will be astounded to see the full-size bow of La Belle in the far back corner, complete with anchor, cannon, swivel gun and welcoming French sailor.

The visitor enters the ship through a breech in its side to watch an introductory video to the exhibit before ascending in an elevator that looks like it is part of the interior of the ship complete with creaky sounds, breaking waves and seagull calls.

Upon exiting the elevator the visitor is faced with a cannon pointing right at him/her. The bronze cannon is a replica of the ones found on the ship, so that visitors can touch it, sit on it, and have their photos taken. A video of the diver’s describing his finding the first cannon will be featured, along with a box that lets the visitor feel what the diver felt when he put his hands on the dolphin handles of the cannon, when he couldn’t see them in the murky waters of the Bay.

As the visitor explores further there is a life-size manikin of La Salle accompanying the tales of his explorations and others voyages of the time. This section includes maps superimposed on one another to show how wrong La Salle’s map was and how he got lost.
A photograph of the building on the water in Palacios that the Matagorda County Navigation District lent to the Texas Historical Commission for the excavation’s headquarters serves as the backdrop to the story of Palacios involvement in the project.

Visitors young and old may try a hand at sifting sand to find treasures as the volunteers did at the coffer dam.

The visitor will observe a very special display case containing the “Mystery Box,” someone’s collection of most precious possessions brought to the New World, promised to Palacios shortly after it was discovered. The box itself is too fragile for display, so will be reconstructed. A lock plate, gouges, adze, gimlet, auger bits and divider handles found in the box will be displayed along with replicas of various and sundry items, including several pairs of drum sticks!

Further on, there is a scale model of the cofferdam with commentary from a local Palacian describing the excitement of the dig.

As the visitor comes full circle he/she is greeted by an animatron of Dead Bob, the only full skeleton found on the ship. He is perched in front of a section of the cofferdam and next to his bones as they were discovered and tells his amazing story.