Celebrate the past, present, and future of San Marcos during History Week. Explore the city's rich history, experience its vibrant culture, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Plan your SMTXperience today and be a part of history in the making.


Museum Week Events

During History Week, immerse yourself in the fascinating exhibits and events offered by San Marcos' local museums and historical sites. Here are some highlights:


Hays County Historical Commission Reception
Tuesday, April 30 from 5-7pm
Hays County Historic Courthouse

The El Camino Real de le Tejas Association traveling exhibit will be kicking off the San Marcos leg of it's tour with an opening reception on Tuesday, April 30 from 5-7pm at the Historic Hays County Courthouse. The exhibit will be displayed at the courthouse from April 29 to June 7, 2024. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the historic trail that connected Mexico City to Los Adaes in Louisiana!


Cinco de Mayo Luncheon Celebration
Friday, May 3 from 11am-1pm
Cuauhtemoc Hall

Celebrate the Tejanos' contributions to the victory of the Battle of Puebla, Mexico, at the Cinco de Mayo Luncheon Celebration on Friday, May 3, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at Cuauhtemoc Hall. Tickets are $40 per person or $300 for a table of eight. Enjoy a delicious meal and participate in the silent auction to support local heritage initiatives.


Heritage Home Tour
May 4 & 5 from 11am-4pm
Various Locations

Experience the charm of San Marcos' historic homes and frontier transportation history during the 47th Annual Heritage Home Tour on May 4-5 from 11am to 4pm. This year's theme, "Vintage Bungalows on Old Buggy Trails," invites you to explore six small vintage properties, each with its own unique charm and historical significance.

Tickets for the self-guided Heritage Home Tour are available for $25 per person in advance online or at the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce office. Prices increase to $30 on the day of the tour (half price for children). Your ticket not only grants you access to these historic homes but also helps in preserving and maintaining San Marcos' historic properties for future generations.


San Marcos Museums & Historical Sites

Entry to LBJ Museum of San Marcos

LBJ Museum of San Marcos

Discover the Presidential legacy of Lyndon B. Johnson at The LBJ Museum of San Marcos. This museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of LBJ's formative years as a student at what is now Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State Teachers College), his teaching career in South Texas, and the profound influence these experiences had on his leadership in passing pivotal legislation in education and civil rights. Texas State University proudly stands as the only Texas college to have graduated a future President of the United States, and notably, also claims the distinction of being the alma mater of a Vice President of the United States. 


if you’d like a good photo opportunity, hike up the hill to the Texas State University Quad for a photo with the LBJ statue on campus. A fun tidbit is that the statue resides at the bottom of the steps to Old Main (where LBJ would have had his classes) and it is said that he was plagued by bad dreams of running up the stairs at Old Main for a class he was late for well past his days at school. There's one more nod to the 36th President of the United States is the LBJ MLK Crossroads Memorial. The memorial is a visible monument at the corner of LBJ and MLK Drives honoring the historic efforts of LBJ and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in forging the most significant Civil Rights legislation since the Civil War. 


An exterior view of the Calaboose African American History Museum in San Marcos, Texas

The Calaboose African American History Museum

The Calaboose African American Museum celebrates the rich history and culture of African Americans in San Marcos and Hays County. Open on Saturdays from 10am-3pm, and by appointment, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the stories of Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen, WWII, Civil Rights, Ku Klux Klan, and the broader history of the San Marcos area. The museum also features a collection of memorabilia belonging to Eddie Durham, a prominent composer and musician born in San Marcos in 1906. Known for his pioneering work with the electric guitar in jazz, Durham's legacy is honored by events and locations such as Eddie Durham Park, the Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration, and the Eddie Durham Jazz Tribute.


As you explore the Calaboose, don't miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Cephas House, once home to Ulysses S. Cephas, a respected blacksmith and community leader at the turn of the 20th century.


Boy looking up at WWII bomber

The Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing

Military history enthusiasts should make it a priority to visit the Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing Exhibit. Housed in a vintage wooden hangar from 1943, this exhibit is a treasure trove of airworthy historic military warbirds. Among the impressive collection, one standout is the "That's All, Brother," a Douglas C-47 Skytrain with a remarkable history. This aircraft led a formation of over 800 C-47s to Normandy during World War II, dropping more than 13,000 paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions into battle. The name painted on the front of the aircraft was a clear message to Adolf Hitler. By the end of D-Day, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully landed on the French beaches, marking a turning point in the war and the eventual liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany's control.


The story of "That's All, Brother" took a remarkable turn when it was discovered in a Wisconsin aircraft boneyard slated for disassembly and remanufacturing. Thanks to fundraising efforts, the plane was saved and meticulously restored by the CAF to its original flying condition and D-Day configuration, complete with rare parts like radios and navigation equipment.


Aside from "That's All, Brother," the exhibit also features other notable planes such as a B-25 Mitchell Bomber (Yellow Rose), the only flying Bell P-39 fighter plane in the western hemisphere (Miss Connie), a restored C-45 (Lone Star Lady), and more. Additionally, visitors can explore an excellent military museum and the Stokes Library, boasting one of the largest collections of military books, many of which are out of print.


A view of the gallery space inside The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University

The Wittliff Collections

History and music enthusiasts alike will find a trip to the Wittliff Collections on the Texas State University campus a unique experience. Among its diverse exhibitions, the Texas Music Collection stands out as a celebration of the state's rich musical heritage. Established in 2017, this collection embraces a wide array of Texas music genres, including country, Western Swing, blues, polka, rock and roll, conjunto, and Tejano.


In collaboration with Texas State University's Center for Texas Music History, the Wittliff Collections are dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and studying the musical legacy of Texas. Visitors can marvel at handwritten lyrics from renowned artists like Willie Nelson, guitars owned by legendary Texas songwriters, and iconic memorabilia such as Stevie Ray Vaughan's black hat and conch belt worn during his historic 1984 Carnegie Hall concert. These items offer a tangible connection to the rich tapestry of Texas music history, making the Wittliff Collections a must-visit destination for music enthusiasts and history buffs alike.


In addition to its impressive music collections, the Wittliff Collections offer a diverse range of non-music exhibitions that showcase the cultural richness of the Southwest and Mexico. Visitors can explore exhibitions featuring the works of acclaimed writers, photographers, and filmmakers, offering insights into the region's history, art, and literature. The collections continually change, ensuring that there is always something new and captivating to discover. One permanent exhibition that stands out is the Lonesome Dove exhibition, which features costumes, props, and other memorabilia from the beloved miniseries, providing a fascinating glimpse into the world of Western storytelling.


Whether you're a history buff, a pop culture aficionado, or simply looking to explore the cultural heritage of the region, the Wittliff Collections offer a captivating journey through the Southwest and Mexico's rich and diverse history.


Historic 1909 Hays County courthouse

Hays County Historic Courthouse

The Hays County Courthouse stands as a testament to resilience, having weathered multiple challenges throughout its history. The current courthouse is actually the fourth building to serve as the county's judicial center. The first courthouse, constructed in 1861, tragically burned down in 1868, merely seven years after its completion. Subsequent buildings faced their own trials: the second courthouse was dismantled in 1881 due to damage from shifting earth, and the third was demolished following a fire in 1908 that consumed its top floor.


The courthouse that greets visitors today was completed in 1909 and has since undergone restoration in 1972 to preserve its historic charm. One of its most intriguing features is the statue of justice that adorns its peak. Interestingly, this statue once took an unexpected journey through the building. At one point, it fell through the dome and rotunda, crashing into the basement below. Despite this mishap, the statue was retrieved and restored, symbolizing the enduring spirit of the courthouse.


Today, visitors can explore the interior of the courthouse, which boasts impressive architectural features and a rich history. The lower floors house historic exhibits that provide insight into the courthouse's past and its significance to the community. A visit to the Hays County Courthouse offers a glimpse into the resilience of the building and the community it serves, making it a must-see destination for history enthusiasts and visitors alike.