New Acquisition! Pope Pius IX & Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico Crucifix

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, the Museum will host a special preview reception to celebrate the acquisition of a legendary artifact from the estate of former Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams. The item, an ebony, ivory, and gold crucifix, connects European royalty, America, Mexico, France, and the Vatican. The 15” crucifix was gifted by Pope Pius IX to Austrian Prince Ferdinand Maximilian. Maximilian visited the Pope to receive his blessing and the crucifix before becoming His Imperial Majesty, The Emperor of Mexico in 1864.

This is the first time the artifact has ever been on public display. It will be available for viewing by the public starting on February 24, 2019.

The artifact is associated with a period of U.S. history largely eclipsed by the American Civil War. In 1861, Emperor Napoleon III of France invaded Mexico. Due to concerns that France might assist the Confederacy, President Lincoln did not invoke the Monroe Doctrine and instead maintained a friendly diplomatic relationship with France. As a result, Maximilian rejected Confederate requests to direct Napoleon III’s navy and army northward to fight Union troops. Maximilian’s brief and naïve rule ended after the French withdrew military and financial support in 1867. Although Napoleon III urged him to abandon Mexico and return to Europe, Maximilian refused to desert his loyal followers. Later that year, the 34-year-old Emperor was captured, court-martialed, and executed by Benito Juárez’s army.

Tickets for the special preview reception are available at:
$20 for Non-members, $10 for Museum members. Open bar.