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Exhibit shows shared history of Shell, Deer Park

October 5, 2018

The San Jacinto Museum of History in La Porte wants the public to take a closer look at the role that the petrochemical industry, particularly Shell, has played in the development of Deer Park and the region.

“It’s clothes, the detergent that washes your clothes, the carpet you walk on … there is no way to escape the impact of industry,” said Elizabeth Appleby, the museum’s assistant director and curator.

The museum’s new exhibit, “Big Energy: A Texas Tale of People Powering Progress,” allows visitors to explore how the Shell refinery was established 90 years ago in Deer Park and how the larger petrochemical industry and Houston Ship Channel still helps define the region.

The exhibit shows how industry and Deer Park are, in many ways, inseparable.

“The exhibit is going to be sharing a story of the history of Deer Park and in particular focusing on the evolution of chemical industry in that area, with the obvious focus being on Shell,” Appleby said.

Shell is celebrating its 90th anniversary in Deer Park.

“They’ve kind of grown up together side by side,” Appleby said of the company and the city.

In the early years, Shell paved streets and built neighborhoods.

The exhibit invites the public to see what happens behind the walls of the industrial plants.

“It also adds in a lot of the science behind what goes on in those chemical plants you see as you drive along (Texas 225) every day,” Appleby said.

Designed around three central areas: detailing the shared history of different organizations that make up Deer Park, a virtual experience illustrating how oil and gas is transported from wells to the refinery;

The exhibition includes multimedia and interactive touch-screen presentations as well as photographs and video clips and a time-lapse map documenting the evolving landscape.

“The shared history (between the city and Shell) affected the growth and success of the city of Deer Park as well as the individuals who worked for Shell, and they became the pioneers and the future leaders of our city,” Deer Park City Councilwoman Sherry Garrison said.

Another part of the exhibit explains how the products manufactured at these plants are part of everyday life, like shoes and paints.

“It’s trying to give people a context for what’s going on in this area,” Appleby said. “I understand that some people don’t like the petrochemical industry, but we’re just trying to share information so that you can make your own decision and learn more about it.”

The San Jacinto Museum of History, located at the San Jacinto Monument, 1 Monument Circle, La Porte, is open 7 days a week, 9 a.m-6 p.m. at One Monument Circle, La Porte, and admission to the

“Big Energy: A Texas Tale of People Powering Progress” exhibit is free.

For more information, contact the San Jacinto Museum of History at 281-479-2421 and visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org or the museum’s Facebook page.

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