On Texas Independence Day, embrace your love of Whataburger at new Capitol Visitors Center food exhibit

Did you know the Poteet Strawberry Festival started in 1948 as a way to encourage World War II veterans to get into farming?

That’s one of the many Texas food factoids you’ll learn at a new food exhibit at the Texas Capitol Visitors Center called “A Diverse Blend: Celebrating Texas Food,” which is open until Sept. 30.

The Texas Capitol Visitors Center has a new food exhibit open until Sept. 30. It’s a small but informative exhibit, but this free, two-floor museum itself is an excellent alternative to the Bullock Texas State History Museum, which can be overwhelmingly crowded. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

But why wait until September? Today is Texas Independence Day, a widely accepted day to proudly proclaim Texan heritage and the state’s sprawling, if complicated, history, and although the Texas Capitol Visitors Center isn’t as comprehensive as the Bullock Texas State History Museum, this free museum near the southeast corner of the Texas Capitol has enough exhibits to keep a family entertained for at least an hour or two.

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The Texas Capitol Visitors Center is located on 11th Street in the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The food exhibit is particularly fun. Curators set up the space to look like a kitchen, with a table in the middle of the room, an old fridge, oven and cabinets to showcase early kitchen tools, historical cookbooks and recipe cards. On the walls, you’ll find lots of quick pieces of info about the state’s food festivals, agricultural history and even the food companies that call the state home, including Whataburger and Blue Bell.

If the Bullock is too busy this weekend, or you’re looking for a less-intense (or free) place to learn about Texas history, including its foodways, this is the place to do it. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Here are some more photos from my recent visit.

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