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April 2, 2013

Star of the Republic curator honored for finding descendants of early Texas leaders

Dr. Shawn Carlson traced the lineage of the 60 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence

Dr. Shawn Carlson

Star of the Republic Museum Curator of Collections and Exhibits Shawn Carlson recently received the Women in American History Award from Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for her work to trace the lineage of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Carlson has worked at Star of the Republic Museum, operated by Blinn College, since 2002.She was recognized by the La Villita chapter of the DAR for her recent efforts on the museum’s “Adopt-A-Signer” project, which identified the living direct descendants of the delegates who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. More than 40 volunteers from 21 organizations invested approximately 5,000 hours researching the descendants.

The museum utilized that data to send more than 1,700 emails and postcards to descendants, inviting them to be recognized during the 175th anniversary of the document’s signing at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site in February 2011.

Their efforts resulted in roughly 1,500 descendants attending the 175th anniversary celebration, representing families from 50 of the Declaration’s 60 signers. The results of the lineage research can be viewed at, and a form on the website allows additional descendants to submit their lineage with documentation.

Carlson received her PhD in anthropology from Texas A&M University in 1994 and has worked on historic sites throughout the southeastern United States, including Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Anson Jones plantation and the David Burnet home site. In 2012 she was awarded the John L. Nau III Award of Excellence in Museums from the Texas Historical Commission and was also appointed a state vice chairman of the Historic Preservation Committee for the National Society of DAR.

As curator of collections and exhibits, Carlson is responsible for accessioning, cataloging, conservation, research and storage of the artifact and manuscript collections and oversees the development and implementation of exhibits.

Star of the Republic Museum is located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site off state Highway 105.  It was created by the Texas Legislature and is administered by Blinn College as a cultural and educational institution. Daily museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 936-878-2461 or visit: