Museums and Resources for K-12 Students
Opportunities abound for learning more about La Salle, La Belle, and Fort St. Louis, whether you choose to visit museums with special exhibits on these topics or explore lessons and other educational materals online or in print sources. In this section we highlight a selection of these materials.
La Salle's Odyssey Trail: A Collaboration of Museums
Seven museums along the Texas coast as well as the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin have joined in a unique partnership to tell the story of La Salle, La Belle, and the French settlement, Fort St. Louis, in 17th-century Texas. Following the trail and visiting the museums provides a special opportunity to see the environmental context—bays and barrier islands, marshes, streams, and prairies—in which these historic events played out.
With the support of the Texas Historical Commission, each museum has showcased different aspects of the La Salle saga accompanied by distinctive historical artifacts and materials. The Odyssey partnership is a continuation of the extraordinary efforts by local volunteers, cities, organizations, foundations, and businesses along the coast who contributed time and funding toward the excavation and analyses of La Belle shipwreck and the Fort St. Louis site.
Visiting hours vary widely at each museum, so it's wise to call ahead before planning your journey (follow the links in the map above to the museums' webpages, which list visitor information, directions, and phone numbers). To learn more, visit the La Salle Odyssey Museums, Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Learning about La Salle, La Belle, and Fort St. Louis: K-12 Resources from other Museums and Websites
Numerous online resources for K-12 teachers and students are available for learning about La Salle, La Belle, and the colony at Fort St. Louis. A selection is these is listed below, as well as links to regional museums that host field trips for students and educational programs based on La Salle.
THC's Online Lesson Plans for La Salle Projects
Voyage of Doom
The French in Texas
Flat Stanley Explores the Shipwreck and Artifacts
From a Watery Grave: The Discovery and Excavation of La Salle's Shipwreck, La Belle (Texas A&M Press 2005). Written by Belle Principal Investigator James Bruseth and Toni Turner, this beautifully illustrated book provides a wealth of information on La Salle and the wreck of his ship within the context of the times, an era of global expansion and competition for new trade markets. Along with a firsthand account of the ship's recovery and conservation, the book also details the craft of shipbuilding with numerous graphics. Suitable for students 5th and up.
La Salle in Texas: A Teacher's Guide for the Age of Discovery and Exploration by Pam -Wheat Stranahan, educator and former Executive Director of the Texas Archeologocal Society. A companion to From a Watery Grave, this comprehensive resource is divided into four units covering La Salle, cultures and adaptation along the Texas Gulf coast, the recovery of the shipwreck, and the science of archeology. Included with the book is a DVD by Alan Governar on the story of La Belle and Fort St. Louis and the excavation of the shipwreck.
Raising La Belle, by award-winning author and illustrator Mark Mitchell, artfully weaves the story of La Salle's 17th-century journey to the New World with the 20th-century discovery of La Belle into an engaging adventure for children. Mitchell also visits schools to provide presentations on the story incorporating "chalk talk," in which he draws illustrations on the blackboard. The author is not affiliated with the THC. www.markgmitchell.com/
The Portal to Texas History at North Texas State University offers an online version of The Journeys of Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (two vols.) These accounts, written by La Salle's lieutenant, Henri de Tonty, and other of his companions, were compiled and created by Isaac Joslin Cox in 1905
La Salle Archeology Projects
Presidio La Bahía