Texas Spirit Theater at the Bullock Texas State History Museum

The History of Texas Comes to Life in 4D
Austin, Texas

Opened in 2001, the Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin invites visitors to interpret for themselves the story of Texas history. Electrosonic provided a complete audio-visual systems upgrade and reprogramming of the museum’s 190-seat 4D Texas Spirit Theater. The theater is auditorium style with a standard proscenium stage plus two flanking openings.

Texas Spirit Theater

Electrosonic had provided the original audio and video systems, which had continued to function well but were a dozen years into their life cycle. The upgrade features three flat projection screens that provide an immersive experience for audiences when a single image fills all the screens; the side screens can also display different images to support the narrative. A complement of 4D effects enhances productions with atmospherics and movement.

The theater currently hosts two shows in rotation: “Star of Destiny,” produced by BRC Imagination Arts, looks at the epic history of Texas through stories of perseverance, and “Wild Texas Weather” enables audiences to feel the wrath of Mother Nature in 22 minutes of footage showing wicked weather conditions accompanied by an original score featuring artists from Austin’s vibrant music scene. The Texas Spirit Theater is also available to the public for screenings, presentations and conferences. It’s a favorite venue for Austin’s thriving independent filmmaking community.

The upgrade prepares the theater for the November premiere of the short film “Shipwrecked” from Cortina Productions, which will support a new exhibition on the excavation of the barque La Belle, one of Robert de La Salle’s four ships, which sank off the Texas coast in 1686. The remains of the hull will be on display along with over a million recovered artifacts. The theater’s 4D effects will permit audiences to feel the power of the storm that sunk the ship.

Texas Spirit Theater

Electrosonic upgraded the existing show control system and video playback system, while ensuring that the programming for “Star of Destiny” and “Wild Texas Weather” translated smoothly to the new gear and that programming for “Shipwrecked” got underway efficiently. The new audio system allows full 5.1 surround playback for regular film presentations and expandability to the 15 separate audio tracks required for the 4D shows. Electrosonic also provided training for the theater technicians to be ready to fully service and operate the space in all ways.

The Museum’s Director of Theaters, John Lewis, concluded, "Electrosonic has been a great partner to the Bullock Museum, providing top-notch technical design, support and guidance since the museum opened in 2001. The recently upgraded theater system has breathed new life into the Texas Spirit Theater by increasing programming capabilities, streamlining operations, and preserving the theater's tradition of providing a superior immersive theater experience to generations of Texans and visitors to Texas for years to come."

Texas Spirit Theater