Since its establishment in 1952, the Museum has worked diligently to collect and preserve materials and documents relating to the history of Bastrop and Bastrop County. Our archives, collections and exhibits attract historians, genealogists, writers, families and students. Artifacts span more than 200 years from when Native Americans foraged widely through the area to the latter part of the 20th Century.  Documents vary from the 1834 Ayuntamiento of Mina (Bastrop County), to letters written in 1967 by local residents who successfully prevented the removal of the remains of Governor Joseph Sayers from Fairview Cemetery in Bastrop to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.


We are preserving our collections for future generations by handling them with care, knowledge and respect. Thanks to a Historic Museum Grant from the Texas Historical Commission in 2008, our archives are now stored in acid free materials.

Come see in depth & in person that   BASTROP HISTORY






Our thanks to businesses and individuals whose financial support has enabled the purchase of artifacts, and to Bastrop County families and other friends of the museum who have donated heirlooms documents, photographs, and objects or have permitted museum staff to electronically scan treasured documents and photographs so that they can be shared with the public.

Savior of the King's Highway - Claudia Wilbarger Norvell

February 23, 2020

Portrait of Claudia Wilbarger Norvell, the Savior of the King's Highway, unveiled today. 

New Exhibit: Coal Mines

March 14, 2019

The ignite coal boom in Bastrop County lasted from 1902 to 1944. The County held the largest deposit of lignite in the State, and, by the 1920s and 1930s, ignite mining was the County's leading industry. Bastrop county lignite fueled the State capitol, the University of Texas and many central Texas colleges, federal buildings and manufacturing facilities.

Featuring the work of artist Lee Jamison the story of coal in Bastrop County comes to life in our final permanent exhibit. 

New Exhibits - Governor Sayers and Cownboys, Cows and Cattlemen

March 14, 2018

Two more permanent exhibits recently opened at the remarkable Bastrop County History Museum. The new exhibits are “Cowboys, Cows and Cattlemen” and “The Life of Governor Sayers.”

“Cowboys, Cows and Cattlemen” highlights the longtime role of the livestock business in Bastrop’s past, going back to days when local ranchers joined up their herds with South Texas cattle on their way north on
the Chisholm trail, through Fort Worth to the railroad stockyards in Abilene, Kansas.

In addition, the western exhibit includes a wheel displaying 17 kinds of barbed wire found in Bastrop County, dating from 1868 to 1899, a repeating slideshow, featuring photos of local ranch work, a set of mounted longhorns donated by the 9E Ranch in western Bastrop County and a glass case with saddlebags, spurs, lariat and child’s boots from the late 1800s.

The second exhibit tracks the life of former Governor Joseph Draper Sayers, who grew up in Bastrop and represented the community in the Texas House, Texas Senate and U. S. Congress. He also served as
Lieutenant Governor. He served two terms as Governor, from 1899-1903. Dominating the exhibit is the Sayers family piano, used during the Governor’s reign by his wife Lena, an accomplished pianist. Also on display is an elegant, ornate bowl, hand-painted by Lena, given as a gift to the Governor and a pair of sunglasses and books owned by Sayers.

Governor Sayers’ gubernatorial term was marked by a series of natural and man-made disasters, including a fire at the state penitentiary, a massive flood of the Brazos River, two years of drought, a boll weevil infestation and the 1900 Galveston hurricane that killed 8,000 people. Sayers was remembered for having slept on a cot in the hallway of the executive mansion so that he could personally direct storm recovery efforts by telegraph.

New exhibit: "When Cotton was King"

February 22, 2017

Bring your family and friends to see the Museum’s newest exhibit “When Cotton Was King.”  This colorful exhibit is rich with artifacts from the days when cotton was the economic engine of Bastrop County. 


The permanent display features:

  • a cotton baler from the 1880s;

  • a spinning wheel brought from Norway in 1858;

  • a silver-headed walking stick used by plantation owner, Marshal Trigg; and

  • a side-saddle from the Hubbard Plantation.


The exhibit is particularly educational, emphasizing the importance of cotton farming to Bastrop County from the 1840s through the early 1900s and gives viewers a glimpse of

life in the county during this early period of the State’s history.  


Cotton farming supported the cotton farmers themselves, as well as cotton “ginners,” teamsters, cotton buyers, and general merchants, among others.  Highlighted in the exhibit are contributions made by Bastrop County African-American slaves, tenant farmers and share croppers.


 As early settler Cayton Erhard who arrived in Bastrop in 1840 once wrote:


 "…cotton planters sent their largest share of cotton on pine log rafts down the Colorado River to Matagorda where the logs were sold for building houses.  In the summer of 1843…I drove the horses belonging to the men managing the raft so that they could return from the seaport.  My wages I received in the form of sugar!"


This exhibit is the largest of 12 new permanent exhibits that have been installed since the Historical Society moved into its Museum at 904 Main.  Admission to the Museum is $5.00 but complimentary to Society Members, one of many benefits to Society membership.

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