Texas A&M University-San Antonio collaborates with community leaders and select historic downtown location to house the DRT Collection

By University Communications
Tuesday, 08 09 2016

SAN ANTONIO (August 9, 2016)—Texas A&M University-San Antonio is on the August 9 Bexar County Commissioners Court agenda requesting a cooperative agreement to allocate space in the former Federal Reserve Bank Building. The University is seeking nearly 10,000 square feet to include academic, gallery and archive space. Becoming a four-year university this month, the University will broaden its academic offerings by adding courses in arts and humanities while also strengthening existing programs in Borderland Studies, History, and Political Science, as well as instruction on Texas and American history and culture. These programs will be strongly enhanced by the placement of the DRT historical items, which will be on loan and increase the University library’s archives and special collections unit.

“This building will allow unprecedented access to the DRT Collection, enhancing scholarly research and instruction within our academic programs,” said Provost Michael O’Brien, Ph.D.

To see this to fruition, the University has worked closely with Bexar County, the City of San Antonio and the DRT, to select a new home that is suitable for the DRT library collection and the University’s existing special collections, some of which are currently in storage. The potential new home for the collection is owned by Bexar County and centrally located at 126 E. Nueva St, 78205. The 91,000 square-foot building is less than a mile from the DRT’s former collection location at the Alamo. The former Federal Reserve Bank building—an expansive six-story structure—can showcase the majority of the DRT’s 38,000 item collection. In addition, the facility is archive-ready, including display cases, appropriate vaulting, humidity control and security that are ideal for the stewardship of these invaluable historical archives. The collection and other exhibits will also take place in the new space, providing opportunities for multiple concurrent events. If the Commissioner’s Court approves its partnership with Texas A&M–San Antonio, the next step will involve the DRT and the University formalizing their agreement to house the collection at the Federal Reserve Bank Building.

"Texas A&M University-San Antonio and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas collections complement Bexar County’s Spanish archives," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.  “The accumulation of these historical documents will help researchers, historians and the general public understand the story of Bexar County.”

In addition to working with Bexar County, the University appreciates its partnership with the City of San Antonio. A&M-SA will continue to support the City by expanding educational opportunities through academic programming that enhance and embrace the City’s cultural assets, but will conclude its agreement with Centro de Artes and transition to operating within the Bexar County building.

“I’m grateful for Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s partnership and I’m saddened to see the University vacate the Centro de Artes building,” said City of San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor. “The City and the University will continue to collaborate on educational opportunities for our upcoming Tricentennial, some of which will be housed at Centro de Artes.”

All aforementioned parties consider this a progressive move for Bexar County and the City of San Antonio. Texas A&M University-San Antonio is committed to continuing partnerships with the local government and the greater San Antonio community. Working in concert with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, the DRT and the greater San Antonio community has allowed for the expansion of academic efforts related to Latino culture, Texas history and connections to the history of San Antonio.