Museum offers 3 million artifacts

Courtesy Photo
This chuckwagon display is one of the many exhibits featured at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.

Compiled By Karl Terry

During the winter months a safe bet for a daytrip is always a museum, and one of the biggest and best is the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. The museum’s Web site bills the institution as the largest history museum in Texas.

A variety of current and long-standing exhibits make the museum of interest to both men and women, young and old. It’s easy to spend the better part of a cold High Plains’ winter day wandering the galleries.

What is it?
With over 3 million artifacts in its collections, the PPHM is the largest museum in Texas. According to the museum’s Web site the various exhibit topics include petroleum, western heritage, paleontology, textiles, furniture and decorative art, transportation and fine art. A new exhibit “People of the Plains: Experiments in Living” points up the similarities of how different cultures have survived on the southern Great Plains for the last 14,000 years and how they addressed the important issues of water, food, shelter and more.

Where is it located?
The museum is located 15 minutes south of Amarillo just off I-27, on the campus of WTAMU at 2503 Fourth Avenue, one block east of U.S. 87 in Canyon.

How to get there:
From Clovis, take U.S. 70 east to Farwell, turn left onto U.S. 60 East and travel 77 miles. When you reach Canyon, turn right on 11th Street (Texas 217) for 0.4 miles then turn left to follow Texas 217 for one mile. The museum will be on the left.

Total distance from Portales is 105 miles. Driving time one-way is approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes.

When to go:
The museum’s winter hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-6 p.m. They are closed New Year’s Day.

Go before Feb. 19 to catch the special exhibits “A River Runs Through It: Lake Meredith at 40” and “Jim Ward: Texas Cowboy Artist.” Ward is a famous illustrator for American Quarterhorse Journal. The Meredith exhibit commemorates the 40th anniversary of Lake Meredith and also includes information and artifacts from Alibates National Monument.

What you might not know:
The museum received a $6 million dollar renovation in 2001. So if you have been there before, it’s time to go again and see the changes.

Adults are $7, seniors 65 and older are $6, children 4-12 are $3 and children under 3 are free. Group discounts and family passes are also available.

For more information on the museum call (806) 651-2244 or visit the museum’s Web site at