The centerpiece of the first exhibit room is the 1/12 scale model of La Salle's flagship, LaBelle. It was one of 4 ships used by LaSalle to explore the Gulf of Mexico in 1684. The goal of LaSalle's mission was to establish a French colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The LaBelle wrecked in Matagorda Bay (near Rockport) in 1686 with only six survivors. In modern times the LaBelle was discovered by archeologists in 1995. An extensive evacuation followed uncovered over a million artifacts from the shipwreck site. Along with the model of the ship are artifacts and a video describing the "day in the life" of the LaBelle.
After goods reached the coastal ports, they were sometimes transported inland by steamboats. Prior to the arrival of the railroad, steamboats were used on Texas rivers beginning in 1829.
The Allure of Fishing display. Reels and red fish (fisherman we saw on the piers told us this is what they were trying to catch...)
Views from the Observation Deck in the museum.
Outdoor exhibits. The LaTortuga is the only Texas Scow Sloop in existence. It was used for early commercial fishing.
Whitaker Capsule was a survival capsule from fires on off-shore oil rigs. The pod would drop 50" feet into the water in an emergency deployment. It was designed to hold 18 people! The design was discontinued in the 1970s after some fatalities when it was used.
Survival Boat for extreme emergencies on off-shore gas or oil rigs. This craft had an outside fire suppression system that sprays salt water over the vessel to keep it cool in a burning oil slick. It provided survival rations for 45 people for 2 weeks...but with no bathroom there were no comforts aboard!
US Coast Guard 8-man life raft. It is used primarily in U.S. rivers as it was deemed insufficient for seagoing vessels.
This is a quick overview of the exhibits at the museum. We found the displays to be well-done and interesting. Admission was $7/adults and $6/seniors. Check out their website for additional information on the museum.