Institute of Texan Cultures | Texas Public Radio

Institute of Texan Cultures

courtesy Institute of Texan Cultures

It’s a slowly disappearing lifestyle in Texas, but this Sunday it’ll be all on display. The Institute for Texan Cultures is featuring one of those cultures: Tejano Ranching.

"There’s a whole culture and way of life around ranching," said the ITC's Brandon Aniol. "A lot of the folks we’re going to have on Sunday are active ranchers and vaqueros in their everyday life. "

Vaqueros is the Spanish word for cowboys.

"And we’re bringing their lifeways into the museum here for folks to look at," said Aniol.

Texas Folklife Festival

The Texas Folklife Festival is coming this weekend and for those of you who have never been, festival Director Jo Ann Andera describes it like this: "It’s a coming together of communities to celebrate food, music and dance."

Forty of the cultures that make up Texas converge this weekend on the Institute of Texan Cultures to strut their cultural stuff. A big emphasis, as Andera notes, is food.

Eileen Pace / TPR News

It's the fifth year for the Blue Star Museums Program, the National Endowment for the Arts' collaboration with the Department of Defense and Blue Star Families. 

Ninety-nine museums in Texas are part of the 2014 program. This year’s program kicked off at the San Antonio Museum of Art last week. 

It's a way for the NEA to honor the nation’s military members by making it easier for them to take their families on a tour of museums across the country this summer.

Courtesy Institute of Texan Cultures

A new exhibit at the Institute of Texan Cultures captures San Antonians at their quirkiest. That exhibit is called Hats Off to Fiesta. I spoke to Diana Luis, who is a curatorial researcher at the ITC.

“Hats Off to Fiesta is pretty much a celebration of the different types of hats that individuals wear during Fiesta season" she explained. “Individuals show off their creative sides by adorning themselves with these amazing pieces of art on top of their heads.”

Institute of Texan Cultures

A new documentary called "Stolen Education" reveals a little-known South Texas story.  It all started in the town of Driscoll. It was 1956 and a school there was doing something odd -- and illegal.

“They were placing children with Spanish surnames automatically into three years of first-grade track," explained Enrique Alemán, Executive Producer of the documentary.  “They called it a beginner, low and high first grade. Parents found out about that and contacted Dr. Hector P. Garcia, founder of the American GI Forum.”

James Benavides

It comes around once a year, and when it does, San Antonio’s Asian population takes center stage.
The 27th annual Asian Festival is all in one day, and it happens on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5p.m. at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

"There’ll be stages for music and dance, there’ll be food vendors with authentic specialties from China and Japan, India, Laos and Cambodia, so many wonderful food opportunities," said ITC Senior Communications Specialist James Benavides.

James Benavides

If you follow the Tower of the Americas to its base, and look just to its southeast you’ll see a huge square building of odd design. It’s the Institute of Texan Cultures. It’s one of downtown’s most distinctive buildings, yet many San Antonians have never been there. In case you’ve never been, maybe it’s time.

"There are all kinds of wonderful, hidden stories here at the Institute," said James Benavides, the ITC’s senior communications specialist, and his job is to make those stories less hidden.

The SABER Institute

In the first segment:

An old joke among Mexican nationals is that San Antonio is the safest city in northern Mexico. But San Antonio will be immune to the recently approved tax reforms taking effect next month.

National Archives

If you dig deep into World War II’s history, you find obscure facts that somehow history has just forgotten to pass on. Well, here’s one for you: Mexican pilots fought alongside American ones in the Pacific theater.

As Bryan Howard, director of research, exhibits and collections at the Institute of Texan Cultures explains, they called them the "Aztec Eagles."

Photo courtesy National Archives

The Institute of Texan Cultures is opening an exhibition called "Native Words, Native Warriors" on an obscure part of recent American history. In World War I and II, American forces needed to communicate secrets to one another. The problem was the enemy understood their language.

"The Germans were very good at English and also good at cryptography and breaking codes," said the exhibit’s curator, Dr. William Meadows.

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