AUSTIN (KXAN) — You can now get a firsthand look at one of the most significant finds in Texas history at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The new exhibit opened to the public Saturday with much anticipation.
KXAN has chronicled the progress of the La Belle in recent months, The ship, which sank in 1686, was recovered in the 1990s from Matagorda Bay. La Belle was coated with polyethylene and freeze dried to wring out its moisture without warping the wood. Now it is in Austin, along with its booty and 125 artifacts, including the cannon.
After a long preservation process, the museum is now re-assembling La Belle and the artifacts from the doomed French exploration. They are doing it out in the open while you watch.
The 54-foot La Belle will be moved in May to the main atrium, which was originally designed with this exhibit in mind, before the museum ever opened in 2001.