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San Marcos Hidden Art Can be Found in the Wittliff Collections

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San Marcos has a secret. Tucked away within Texas State University, on the 7th floor of the Albert B. Alkek Library are The Wittliff Collections. A rich resource for all Texans and honorary Texans, this curated floor is part of Texas State University Libraries, and it was begun by Bill and Sally Wittliff in 1986 to collect, preserve, and share the artistic process which springs from the Southwestern imagination via literary, photographic, and musical arts. Bill Wittliff, who passed away in June 2019, was most well-known for his authorship of the 1985 “Lonesome Dove” miniseries screenplay.

Bill and Sally Wittliff’s collection began around Texas author and folklorist J. Frank Dobie; his journals, manuscripts, letters, and photos entailed the first gifts. In 1996, the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection was established, then joined with the Wittliff’s collection in 2007 to form The Wittliff Collections. This was also the year The Lonesome Dove Collection permanent exhibition gallery opened. The year 2017 was highlighted by the launching of The Texas Music Collection.

San Marcos Hidden Art Can be Found in the Wittliff Collections

Photo: @austinschulz via Twenty20

Open every day until 4:30 p.m., admission is always free and open to the public. Parking reservations do need to be made as the location is within the University. Major exhibitions are hosted year-round, as well as readings, lectures, and tours. Online exhibitions are available like The Ultimate Texas Road Trip, as well as revolving displays. Currently, visitors can learn about sixty women photographers primarily from the Southwest and Mexico, and the music career of Ray Benson.

In a museum mood? San Marcos is home to several other wonderful collections which are open to the public, including the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, Centro Cultural Hispano De San Marcos, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (with glass bottom boats), and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum of San Marcos. There is definitely something for everyone here!