Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Museum exhibit depicts life of vaquero in Mexico

John E. Conner Museum - 10/06/12 - 10/06/12

Contact: Julie Navejar
julie.navejar@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

The John E. Conner Museum located at Texas A&M University-Kingsville will feature an exhibit depicting the history of the cowboy in photos. Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy will be on display in the west wing from Tuesday, Sept. 4, through Saturday, Oct. 6. 

In the exhibit are 62 framed and matted carbon print photographs with bilingual narrative text that will reveal the muscle, sweat and drama that went into roping a calf in thick brush or breaking a wild horse in the saddle. The photos were taken by Taft native and screenwriter Bill Wittliff.

In addition to being a photographer, Wittliff wrote the screenplays for the mini-series Lonesome Dove and movies like The Perfect Storm and Legends of the Fall. In the early 1970s, Texas historian Joe Frantz invited Wittliff to visit a ranch in northern Mexico where the vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways. 

Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about their daily chores that had not changed much since the first Mexican cow herders learned to work cattle from a horse’s back. He captured a way of life that now exists only in memory and in the photographs in the exhibit.

The exhibit was created by the Wittliff Collections at the Alkek Library at Texas State University and is presented in partnership with Humanities Texas, the state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities. This exhibit is made possible in part by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Humanities Texas develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lectures, oral history projects, teacher institutes, traveling exhibitions and documentary films.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the museum and the exhibit is free, however, donations are welcome. For more information, call 361-593-2810.


This page was last updated on: September 05, 2012