One of the most important historical sites in Texas is Washington-on-the Brazos, the birthplace of Texas independence. The extensive site, on 293 acres of parkland, houses historical buildings, the Star of the Republic Museum, and a Visitor Center, which all together tell the story of the founders and the events of 1836 as well as the period until 1846 that Texas existed as a separate and unique nation.

Rendering of the Star of the Republic Museum Store.
Rendering of the Star of the Republic Museum Store.
The Washington on the Brazos complex
Rendering of the Washington-on-the-Brazos Visitor Center Store.

The Washington-on-the-Brazos complex is undergoing a two-year, $44 million restoration and renovation to modernize its buildings, update its galleries, and add a new historic townsite to the property that will expand its ability to serve its traditional audience and also connect with a new generation of visitors. The complete re-imagining of the site will bring the events of 1836 to life, highlighting the significance of the Convention of 1836 in the Texas Revolution and provide insight into the era of the Republic of Texas, showcasing the diverse groups that lived in the region at that time.

To bring an enhanced visitor experience to the site, MRP was asked to design a new retail store in the Star of the Republic Museum and renovate the existing shop in the Visitor Center. Using a comprehensive and granular data analysis process, MRP planned the retail operations to have greatly increased financial performance in addition to state of the art, best in class design that elevated the guest experience and addressed key visitor needs. Taking inspiration from the galleries, grounds, and stories of the founders, lead designer Kathy Mucciolo developed a modern yet historically evocative style that highlighted the materials featured on site and the museum collections. Modular fixtures were used for maximum merchandising flexibility, and to provide a “future-proof” environment that would adapt to the client’s changing needs over time. Re-usable magnetic signage offered a practical and economical means to refresh in-store graphics and reflect mission. And importantly, since there was no permanent food service planned for the site, the stores were outfitted to provide much needed refreshments to visitors.

The site opens to the public in 2026.

Project Details

  • Client: Texas Historical Commission

  • Year: Re-Opening 2026
  • Location: Washington, TX

  • Size: 1,150 SF and 250 SF Stores

  • Partners:

    • Gallagher & Associates, Exhibition Design
    • Design and Production Inc., Construction Management and Fabrication
    • Richter Architects, Site Architect
    • OPTO, Retail Fixtures