As part of the kickoff celebration for its new exhibit, the Museum of the Coastal Bend will hold a Grand Opening Preview from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. In celebration of the 10-year anniversary, a new permanent exhibit has been installed at the museum that tells a comprehensive story of the Coastal Bend's early heritage - "Where Texas History Began." The exhibit traces the history of the Coastal Bend from prehistoric cultures to the story of French and Spanish settlement to Victoria's founding by Martin de Leon and the origins of Texas' great ranching tradition. Helping to open "Where Texas History Began" will be special guests Bob Phillips, host of Texas Country Reporter, and Amanda Danning, forensic sculptor.

Tickets are $25 per person for museum members and $35 per person for nonmembers. Space is limited, so those planning to attend should RSVP by Tuesday. The members' reception begins at 6:30 p.m., which is free for museum members and Grand Opening Preview ticketholders.

"Ten years have passed since the Museum of the Coastal Bend opened to the public with the La Salle Odyssey exhibit," Sue Prudhomme, Victoria College's director of cultural affairs, told the Victoria Advocate. "Since then, we've learned much more about Victoria County's French settlers. We've also received additional artifacts and excavation materials that have been undergoing conservation and scientific study for the last 10 years."

The exhibit opens to the public at 10 a.m. Friday. It is also available during regular operating hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free for museum members and VC students, staff and faculty and pay-what-you-want for all others. The museum is located on VC's main campus, 2200 E. Red River St., in Victoria.

For more information about the exhibit, call 361-582-2434 or email