Museum of the Coastal Bend volunteer receives prestigious award

Bill Birmingham, who has volunteered at the Museum of the Coastal Bend since its inception in 2003, received the Texas Historical Commission’s Curtis D. Tunnel Lifetime Achievement Award in Archaeology during a ceremony on March 26 at the museum.

“Since the 1960s or so, Bill has identified, documented and excavated numerous sites in the Coastal Bend region,” said Patricia Mercado-Allinger, archaeology division director and state archaeologist for the Texas Historic Commission. “He had documented a multitude of archaeological collections and is renowned for his meticulous notes. Many professional archaeologists have benefitted from his knowledge and assistance, myself included.”

“It means a lot to me, because I have devoted most of my spare time to preserve the history of the area,” Birmingham said. “I’d like to thank the museum for nominating me and the Texas Archaeological Society for honoring me with the award.”

Birmingham, who lives in Victoria, has been a member of the Texas Archaeological Society from 1963 and a charter member of the Southern Texas Archaeological Association since 1974.

“Bill has been instrumental in founding the public archaeology lab at the Museum of the Coastal Bend,” said Sue Prudhomme, Victoria College executive director of cultural affairs. “He has also been invaluable in assisting museum staff with organizing many of our temporary exhibits and the museum’s archaeological collections.”

The award honors Curtis D. Tunnel, who was Texas’ first state archaeologist, and recognizes individuals for their outstanding accomplishments in archaeological research and preservation.