From Beaumont to Houston, politicians to pilots, cities and towns alike, the stories of 16 Hurricane Harvey survivors are now on display in the Bullock Texas State History Museum’s newest exhibit: “Unsinkable.”
“To pay tribute to all of the heroic Texans who had reached out to their neighbors across lines of economics and race and culture,” said Margaret Koch, the museum’s deputy director.
In collaboration with Texas Monthly, the display documents the unfolding of Hurricane Harvey through the eyes of those who lived through it. Using a combination of pictures, text, and audio, the month-long exhibit provides perspectives from people of different backgrounds.
“You feel connected to many different kinds of people that you may not have encountered before,” explained Koch.
While each person profiled has their own experience to share - one constant shines through -- the mettle of Texans. It can be seen in the words of Bill Rogers, a 61-year old self-employed mechanic. He shares how a neighbor tried to console him after his house was destroyed - his response: "I'm alive. I can rebuild. I'm sure there's someone worse off than me."
“(Visitors will see) the resilience of the human spirit - particularly that of Texans,” said Koch.
She was particularly proud of the audio clips that play throughout the section, adding she feels it provides a personalized feel to the exhibit.
“These are the honest to goodness stories of people as they experienced things,” noted Koch.
While the devastation and destruction of Harvey affected much of the coast, the exhibit pays tribute to the thousands of Texans who stepped up – and jumped in – to help.
“There was so much good that came out of the devastation of the hurricane, that we really just felt – history became personalized for us,” said Koch.
This display comes at a time of heightened tension throughout the country – a point many of the pictures and stories counteract.
“You see the love and care that we have for each other, even when we often feel in day to day there might be conflict all around us,” Koch said.
Along the side wall at the back of the exhibit are notes – from dignitaries overseas and children alike – sending their well wishes to those affected by the storm.
It is a sign of strength, and symbol that no storm will ever overcome the spirit of Texas.
The exhibit runs through Dec.10. Once completed, museum staff will send the written notes to mayors of the cities affected by Hurricane Harvey.