Teenager Researches and Curates Historic Texas Relics for New San Jacinto Museum of History Exhibit
After six months of deliberation and research, 14-year-old Jimmy Carabajal IV has chosen and installed the 400+ items taken from his family’s trove of archeological treasures in a new lobby exhibit now on display at the San Jacinto Museum of History called The Carabajal Collection: A Glimpse of Goliad. There is no charge to see the exhibit, which will run through July 7, 2014, in the San Jacinto Monument lobby.
“The content of the Carabajal Collection spans the history of our region. Painstakingly taken from the ground owned by a family for 11 generations, it contains artifacts from a range of native cultures, colonial-era finds, Texas Republic relics and countless items from the early years of Texas’s statehood,” says Elizabeth Appleby, Curator, San Jacinto Museum of History. “Derived from land situated next to Presidio la Bahia in Goliad and with the Camino Real literally running through the property, their collection presents a wealth of historical treasures that is truly amazing to behold. Collaborating with Jimmy, who is currently studying history in his 7th grade classroom, and his family on this project has been a wonderful experience for me and San Jacinto.”
Divided into two sections – military life and home/church life – the exhibit contains items such as coins, jewelry, buttons, weapons, pottery shards, arrowheads, beads, and agricultural artifacts found over the past decades during both informal and professional excavations on the land owned by the Carabajal family since the 1800s. Thus far, more than 20,000 items have been found on the Carabajal homestead—most of which were archived by the State of Texas in the 1990s in a project spearheaded by Jeff Durst, Regional Archeologist and Project Reviewer with the Texas Historical Commission. One of the family’s first significant finds was in the 1936, when Jimmy’s great-grandfather excavated a cannon, now on display in Goliad.
Stored in different locations, the family brought all 20,000+ artifacts together in one place so Jimmy could choose the items for the San Jacinto exhibit. After researching the items he found most interesting, he chose the 400 items that are now on exhibit.
“I think this collection is very important to Texas; it represents over 20,000 artifacts of Texas history from one living area—the townsite of Presidio La Bahia. The collection is also important to me and my family because it represents our family history at La Bahia, beginning when my ancestor Geronimo Carabajal came here as a Spanish soldier and started his family in 1715,” says Jimmy Carabajal IV. “I enjoy all the artifacts in this collection because they show me the determination that my family had, like the weapons used in periods of war. My favorite, though, is a cross with different symbols on it that my dad and I found on the Camino Real that passes through our property.”
Jimmy Carabajal IV is in the seventh grade at York Jr. High in Spring, Texas, where he is a member of the band. He has been in the Boy Scouts since 2007 and is an assistant patrol leader. He hopes to study archaeology at Texas A&M University.
“It is no surprise my son Jimmy loves history and its relics; our ancestors have fought in all of the major conflicts in the region, from the time they arrived to the mid-19th century. He has seen all his relatives involved in these archaeological digs since he was an infant; he started digging as soon as he could handle a shovel,” says Jimmy Carabajal, III, Jimmy’s father. “Because of our rich ancestral roots, we have visited all the important historical sites and attended all battle reenactments in Texas, so it’s natural that he loves history and wanted to take on this large project.”
“Jimmy epitomizes the history lovers that we strive to inspire and educate through our museum, its exhibits, the Monument and its surrounding park lands,” says Larry Spasic, president of the San Jacinto Museum of History. “When Jimmy contacted us about displaying his treasure trove, we didn’t hesitate for a second to enthusiastically say yes! We are very indebted to the Carabajal family for allowing us to exhibit these priceless artifacts.”
Photos of the Carabajal family archaeological excavations are available on the home page of the San Jacinto Museum website under “Featured Photo Galleries” at www.sanjacinto-museum.org.
The San Jacinto Museum of History is operated by the San Jacinto Museum of History Association—a non-profit organization—in association with the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The Museum of History owns the collections of artifacts and documents inside of the Monument and staffs the elevator ride to the observation floor, movie, library and exhibition spaces.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates and maintains the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, which consists of the San Jacinto Battleground, Monument and Battleship TEXAS. The San Jacinto Battlefield and the Battleship Texas are both National Historic Landmarks; the monument is a National Civic Engineering Landmark.
Donations to the San Jacinto Museum of History can be made at
www.sanjacinto-museum.org/ or by mailing a check to: San Jacinto Museum of History, One Monument Circle, La Porte, Texas 77571.< Back to News and Events