By Brandon Anioł
Educational Specialist, UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
Spring break is an exciting way to greet the prospect of warmer weather. In San Antonio, Texas, the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) is encouraging visitors to discover the roots of home gardening and nutrition. Over spring break, the ITC presented Pioneer Sunday and Texas Frontier Week, public programs linking modern home gardening with interpretations of historic agriculture. The museum served nearly 2000 visitors throughout the course of the week, many of whom participated in family activities that stimulated exploration in home gardening, organic farming, and nutrition.
A Let’s Move! museum, the ITC is committed to bridging the gaps between the past, the present, and the future. Everyone loves to eat, but most people are unaware of where their food comes from, both physically and historically. Presented on Sunday, March 9, Pioneer Sunday featured living history interpreters working alongside botanists and master gardeners. This juxtaposition motivated visitors to think about food holistically and how our relationship with agriculture has changed over time. The centerpiece of the event was an antique tractor show, presented by the Utopia, Texas Independent School District Future Farmers of America program. The FFA build-teams restored each tractor as part of a year-long course offered through Utopia, TX ISD. Each tractor build-team consisted entirely of high school students, including one all-girl team.
Texas Frontier Week, presented March 10-14, extended the experience of past and present and the possibilities of the future to visitors enjoying the spring break. Both Pioneer Sunday and Texas Frontier Week achieved support from organizations across South Texas, including the San Antonio Botanical Garden, Bexar County Master Gardeners, San Antonio Food Bank, the Future Farmers of America and the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is a component of the University of Texas at San Antonio. It pursues its mandate as the state’s center for multicultural education by investigating the ethnic and cultural history of the state and presenting stories through exhibits, programs, workshops, and special events. The Institute is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The ITC proudly presents the 43rd Texas Folklife Festival in June, an extension of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. For more information, visit TexanCultures.com