This building on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds used to be the Texas General Land Office. The GLO was commissioned in 1837 by Sam Houston to collect and store land records. This state agency still exists today. Their archives are now located in a building just north of the State Capitol.
GLO had a very famous employee in the late 1800s: William Sydney Porter, who wrote under the pen name O. Henry. One of the rooms in the Capitol Visitors Center is devoted to Porter’s work as a GLO draftsman from 1887-1891. The City of Austin maintains a separate O. Henry Museum on East Fifth Street.
The Capitol Visitors Center also has exhibits about early settlers in Texas, the Texas Governor’s Mansion (currently being renovated) and of course, the State Capitol.
The Capitol Visitors Center is not a huge museum and is geared more for children. But no complaints here, since it is free!