The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, was called “the Smithsonian of Texas” by its director, Guy C. Vanderpool, in the November 2007 Texas Highways. The PPHM is the largest historical museum in Texas.
Wikipedia: Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is a history museum on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, U.S.A., a small city south of Amarillo. The museum’s contents are owned and controlled by the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, while West Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University Board of Regents maintains and provides the facilities. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum claims to be the largest history museum in the state of Texas with 70,000 visitors annually and more than three million artifacts.
The museum’s permanent exhibits include American Western life and agriculture history artifacts, art, paleontology, geology, Native American art and artifacts, firearms, antique vehicles, decorative arts and furniture, petroleum industry artifacts, sports artifacts, and textiles. The museum also features the outdoor Pioneer Town that includes a livery, saloon, schoolhouse, pioneer cabin and other buildings.
The Panhandle-Plains Historical Society was founded in 1921 by faculty and students of West Texas State Teachers College and area supporters to preserve the history of pioneer life and natural history in the West Texas region. The museum opened its permanent and present location on April 14, 1933. The noted historian Angie Debo served as curator of the museum in 1933-1934.
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
When the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) opened its doors in 1933, it was a 12,500 square foot building. Since that time the museum has become the largest history museum in Texas with more than 285,000 square feet.
Approximately 100,000 guests visit the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum each year. On the campus of what is now West Texas A&M University, the Museum has more than three million artifacts, ranging from the Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s eagle feather headdress to collections of historic New Mexico and Texas art.
The role of the Society remains the same today as it was in 1921. As Miss Anderson so eloquently expressed her dream, “It is the sacred duty of ours to collect the record of life here and hand this on to the children of the future ... and we believe in the future our people will point with pride to their museum and the historical society.”
To collect, preserve, conserve, exhibit and interpret the historical, ethnological, cultural, and scientific heritage of the Panhandle-Plains region of Texas and related areas of the Southwest; to operate and maintain the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Texas A&M University Board of Regents; to enlist interest and support in achieving the mission; and to undertake other related activities.
Wikipedia: Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution (pronounced /smɪθsoʊnɪən/) is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its shops and its magazines. Most of its facilities are located in Washington, D.C., but its 19 museums, zoo, and nine research centers include sites in New York City, Virginia, Panama, and elsewhere. It has over 136 million items in its collections, publishes two magazines named Smithsonian
Air & Space (bimonthly), and employs the Smithsonian Police to protect visitors, staff, and the property of the museums. The Institution’s current logo is a stylized sun
Texas Highways (November 2007)
It’s Not Big. It’s Large.
By Gerald E. McLeod
The Texas Panhandle is a big place, and it takes the largest history museum in the state to tell its story.
Like a time machine, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon takes visitors on a fantastic journey through the evolution of the great Texas plains.
The museum is “the Smithsonian of Texas,” says executive director Guy C. Vanderpool. “Within these walls you can go from prehistoric crustaceans to 20th-Century art in a short walk.”
By Debbie Harmsen, Tony Carnes, et al.
New York, NY: Fodor’s Travel Publications
WHAT TO SEE
Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. The state’s largest historical museum, this extensive, multi-department “Smithsonian of Texas” explores the geological and cultural history of the Panhandle, from 18th -century pioneers to 1860s hot rods.
Web-posted Saturday, February 23, 2008
Thinking Out Loud
Museums can be a great unifier, particularly in a nation as divided as this one.
That’s the view, at least, of Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum director Cliff Vanderpool, who - while touting an upcoming exhibit at the Canyon site - took a moment to extol the virtues of a “museum-based education.”
Vanderpool noted that “Texas Highways” magazine calls the Panhandle-Plains museum the “Smithsonian of Texas.”