Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas


Over 30 years ago – shortly after we had first moved to West Texas – Donna and I visited the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum on the campus of what was then West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas. I really enjoyed that visit, so I was anxious to return for a second visit while we were at nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The museum has changed quite a bit and has grown extensively. The campus has also changed; it is now called West Texas A&M University.

The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas
The museum is truly one of the best in the state, and that’s not only my opinion. It does an excellent job of tracing the history of the Panhandle Plains up to the present, and a fascinating history it is. The museum is divided into different sections, such as the oil boom, paleontology, and pioneer times. The online map clearly illustrates all the sections of the museum.

Display demonstrating how native Americans skinned buffalo. The monitor in the front played an excellent video showing in detail the process.
Displays in the Paleontology section of animals once found in the Panhandle. These are, from left to right: ground sloth, peccary, Scott's horse, dire wolf, sabertooth cat, and plain's bison.

Recreated filling station from the Oil Patch section of the museum

Since I love history related to the old American West, I especially enjoyed Pioneer Town.

One of many businesses that have been recreated in Pioneer Town

Admission seemed a bit pricey to me at $10 per person, but the museum is truly extensive, and if you like this sort of stuff, you can easily spend half a day or more in the museum. Free parking is available on the side street to the west side of the museum.

This museum is a real treasure trove of 14,000 years of Panhandle Plains history.

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