Amazing Places You Never Knew Existed
Type: Local History
Address: 211 SE 17th Street, Amarillo, Texas See Map
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00am-12:00pm.
Admission: Donation Requested
Tucked away on the second floor of the old Wilson Elementary School is a collection of Amarillo’s history: The Amarillo Historical Museum. Director Tom Warren II was there when I visited and showed me around the two room collection. The museum is packed with fascinating objects from Amarillo’s past. There’s a leather and fur costume from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show paired with a list of his employee rules for behavior in sleeping cars, a sentimental souvenir pillow from the Amarillo Air Force Base and a comprehensive visual history of professional wrestling.
Mr. Warren was working on a display case of antique weapons, but took time to talk to me about the objects in the museum. The walls are covered with posters and photographs of Amarillo landmarks and people. One corner held a huge bank of preserved newspaper front pages with headlines of important events: a fire at the distillery, astronauts on the moon, the tornado that ripped through the city, the death of a president. There’s a huge collection of election pins from races both local and national. And a ten inch thick, old-school unabridged dictionary, the twenty pound kind that used to sit on its own podium.
One of the most interesting things Mr. Warren showed me was a box marked “Unidentified People”. It contained photographs of Amarilloans from the time of the town’s inception until well into the 1950s. I thought this was a delightful puzzle in which visitors to the museum could participate.
I asked Warren what was the coolest acquisition in the museum. He took me to a stack of giant green books. They contained entire Amarillo newspapers, each book a year’s worth of publications. The museum has acquired books covering the years 1927 to 1945. It’s a treasure trove of information.
There’s so much to see packed into such a small area. Mr. Warren explained that the museum is planning to move to a historic home nearby. Currently larger items including a glass-tanked gas pump, an antique stove and various other large pieces, stand in the hallways and on the stair landings of the building. With the extra room, the museum will be able to create a complete display including many of the artifacts and published material that are currently stowed away. They are simply waiting for the city to approve the zoning changes.
I highly recommend the Amarillo Historical Museum, a young but growing collection. Amarillo has a rich, unique history and this museum is doing a good job of chronicling their story.
Find the Amarillo Historical Museum online: