San Marcos Like a Local

LBJ Museum May Surprise You

February 20, 2015

by Jill Weddle

No matter how many times you have walked around the San Marcos Square, there’s always something new to experience. The Lyndon B. Johnson museum has been open since 2006, but it has seen a rise in visitors since a new sign went up in January of 2013. Materials from the LBJ Ranch at Stonewall were used to construct the sign. A bright neon outline gives it the sign a retro feel and attracts visitors like bugs to a bug zapper.

The historic two-story building is home to many mementos of Texas State’s most famous alumnus. Accounts of his involvement with the university newspaper and debate team are displayed, and they’re nothing like what you would see in the University Star today. Johnson was wise beyond his years at 19. He wrote passionate and thought-provoking articles about things like the Constitution and the importance of teaching as a career. He went on to teach low-income children in Cotulla, Texas, and his coworkers praised him for his dedication to the job.

Many locals have fond memories of President Johnson, too. An interactive audio booth gives visitors the chance to listen to stories about him and his many trips back to San Marcos. A favorite of mine came from the founder of the Strutters, the Texas State dance team. Mrs. Barbara Guinn Tidwell said they were practically still sewing the buttons on their uniforms as they ran onto the field for the first time in 1960, but Johnson always made sure they got noticed. There were no advertisements on television at the time, so they got national coverage during half time of games all around the country.

Upstairs, Ladybird Johnson is the center of attention. A bright meeting room with windows overlooking the square is available for use for civic, educational, and cultural events.

LBJ’s dedication to civil rights, education, and eliminating poverty was cultivated here in San Marcos. When he came back to his alma mater to sign the Higher Education Act in 1965, he spoke about the importance his college years:

“Here the seeds were planted from which grew my firm conviction that for the individual, education is the path to achievement and fulfillment.”

The museum is open Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Online exhibits and program information are available at Donations accepted.

Jill Weddle is a blogger who is on a mission to do everything there is to do and eat everything there is to eat in San Marcos, Texas! You can keep up with her San Marcos Bucket List adventures on her blog, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.