Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum - 6/09/14

Love, love, love this history museum.  It is located on the West Texas A&M University campus in the small town of Canyon, TX (south of Amarillo). They have 3 million artifacts with only a small percentage of them on display. New exhibits are continually created to rotate those on display (although some of the exhibits are permanent).

There are exhibits of American western life and agriculture history artifacts, art work, paleontology, geology, Native American artifacts, firearms, antique vehicles, decorative arts and furniture, petroleum industry artifacts, and textiles.


Authentic chuck wagon (1880s)

Ride 'em cowboy!
Side saddle!

Interesting info on brands and how to read them.

Comanche quote and headdress

Chant of the Chiricahua; granite.

Vehicle Exhibits -
Highwheeler bicycle (1892). Sold for $130 equivalent to $2,600 today.

Solex motorized bicycle (1946) weighed 62 pounds and ran 200 miles on one gallon of gas.

1930 Cadillac V-16 Sedan

1916 Detroit Electric (yes, Electric!) Model 66 Brougham. Priced at $2,275 ($38,500 today), the cost was equal to 9 Model Ts.  Top speed was 21 mph and could travel 65-100 miles before the 42 batteries needed to be recharged.

1910 Zimmerman Touring Car, 2 cylinder opposed engine, air-cooled.

1915 Model T Touring Car, 4-cylinder, L-head engine.

1930 Buick Coupe, 6-cylinder engine.

Anyone remember the Burma Shave signs?  The company started posting 6 sequential signs on highways to promote their product in 1925 and continued until 1963. I remember them very well! They had a few sets at the museum.

Great collection of trunks.

1860s wedding dress on the right.

White lace wedding dress (1983) and embroidered cream overlay on blue sateen (1925).

Windmills:  The windmill played a major role in solving the water supply problem of the high plains. Below is  a 22.5' Railroad Eclipse Windmill, so named because it was used to pump water for steam locomotives in the 19th century.

Original Star Windmill was second in popularity to the Eclipse in the southern Great Plains in the late 19th centuries. They ranged in size from 10'-26' in diameter.

Petroleum industry - life size displays were amazing. Also large collection of the evolution of drilling bits.

Do you see Gomer at the pump?

Paleontology exhibit - all were found in Texas

Wild horse, bobcat, and wolf of the plains.

Shovel-tusked gomphothere (mastodont) - short-legged cousin to the elephant.

Mastodont foot

Phytosaur, resembling a crocodile, was the dominate reptile of the late Triassic period and grew to 25 feet.

Giant sloth (we saw one of these skeletons at the Field Museum in Chicago!)


Huge array of firearms. Here are some.
Long rifles from 1830s

Sharps rifles from 1860s (the term sharpshooter derived from these rifles)

World War  I
World War II

There is also a a permanent exhibit "Pioneer Town" that includes a livery, saloon, hotel, schoolhouse, pioneer cabin, dentist office, bank, and various other buildings.

Original 1880s cabin

Interior - who could that cowhand be?

Antique wagon and baby carriage.

Second, larger, cabin with furnishings of the timeframe.


Studio of artist Harold D. Bugbee.

Admission is $10/adults; $9/seniors. We also had a $2/off coupon that is readily available in Amarillo brochures. There is so much to see here, that you could spend hours. And with their continual efforts to swap out exhibits throughout the year, it is a place you can go back to many times and see something new.  

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