An art deco building with floor-to-ceiling windows, rising up in the middle of Texas plains, unassumingly contains a renowned history museum. Having been called “the Smithsonian with a Texas accent,” the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is the largest in the state with more than two million artifacts in its collection.
The site’s exhibits largely feature items of the American West, including pieces and historic artifacts of agriculture, geology, decorative arts, antiques, and textiles. There are athletics, transportation, and firearm artifacts, as well as an extensive collection of Native American art.
The museum does an excellent job of presenting and preserving the area’s unique history and culture to the visiting public. Permanent exhibits tell the story of early settlement of the Texas Panhandle, as well as the state’s oil boom and life of the American Southwest’s first pioneers. Originally formed to preserve the natural history and pioneer heritage of West Texas, the museum is maintained in partnership with Texas A&M University.
The museum can be found on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, not far from Amarillo and Palo Duro Canyon. It takes about 15 minutes to drive there from the center of Amarillo. Open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm (5 pm in winter months,) admission costs $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $5 for children.