Austin, Texas, (population 750,000) became the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1839. Austin remained the capital of the state of Texas following the United States’ annexation of Texas in 1845.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1871, the economy grew, along with an increase in construction. The 1888 capitol building and the buildings of the University of Texas at Austin are today among the city’s most prominent landmarks.
In November 2006, the citizens of Austin approved a $500,000 bond issue to support the comprehensive restoration of the Elisabet Ney Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1907 building is the American studio of European sculptress and Texas cultural pioneer, Elisabet Ney. The Elisabet Ney Museum received funding for the restoration through the Save America’s Treasures program, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Texas Historical Commission, the city of Austin, and two foundations. The museum works closely with the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau on marketing and programming, and the Austin airport has featured the museum in three exhibits. The museum also worked with a local hotel to create an Elisabet Ney Room, which features photographs of the museum and Elisabet Ney.
The city of Austin is implementing CreateAustin, a plan to promote Austin’s many cultural, historical, and artistic assets. Austin has several heritage festivals reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of the city, including Mexican, European, African American, and Asian influences.
The Parks and Recreation Department promotes local heritage through several city-operated museums, including the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center and the Mexican American Cultural Center. At the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, a permanent exhibit showcases 10 local African American families. At the Mexican American Cultural Center, rotating exhibits feature local Latino artists.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2009.