It’s pretty safe to say that one of the most authentic western culture experiences you will ever have in your travels will be when you visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame (TCHF) in Fort Worth. First off, it’s located in an extraordinary 100-year-old building (originally a horse and mule barn) located in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, so to get to it you get to walk the historic Exchange Avenue where you step back in time to when life as a cowboy was the way of life. Once there (128 East Exchange) and inside, you will be surrounded by wall-to-wall artifacts and memorabilia highlighting western life and the important role cowboys played in Texas and our American history.
Over 130 Inductee Exhibits
There are currently over 130 inductees honored with personal displays at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, with five new members added each year. (You, too, can nominate someone!) What’s especially inspiring is this esteemed group is all-inclusive of people who have made an impact on western life in Texas and that means musicians (Willie Nelson & George Strait), actors (Tommy Lee Jones), poets (Red Steagall) and ranchers (Helen Kleberg Groves) are also figured alongside rodeo stars (Don Gay).
Five Permanent Exhibits & Rotating Temporary Exhibits
There are five permanent collections (home to several original pieces) highlighting the unique aspects of Texas history and culture. The displays include: Adventures of the Cowboy Trail, Amon G. Carter Cadillac, Applewhite-Clark, Chisholm Trail, John Justin Trail of Fame, The Sterquell Wagon Collection and the Zigrang Bit Collection. Every exhibit offers an authentic glimpse into western culture.
The Chisholm Trail is Celebrating Its 150th Anniversary
The Chisholm Trail and the cattle industry played a big role and the TCHF Chisholm Trail exhibit captures what life was like on the Trail for cowboys and vaqueros. It features tons of artifacts, maps, saddles and more. This year is the Chisholm Trail’s 150th anniversary so be sure to watch for and join commemorative celebrations that’ll be happening across DFW throughout the year.
Special John Justin Trail of Fame honoring Fort Worth’s Very Own
John Justin built his Justin Boot Company from the ground up and became a prominent civic leader in Fort Worth. This exhibit (literature, telegraphs, badges, photographs) honors the important contributions he made to the town where he was born and raised.
World-Class Wagon Collection
The Sterquell Wagon Collection is the world’s largest collection of lifestyle wagons, featuring over 60 wagons, buggies and sleighs. The collection came from U.C. (Sterk) and Betty Sterquell in Amarillo, Texas. (Hence the name.)
Children’s Hands-On, Three-Station Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is a super cool more interactive-style area for children (though adults have fun here too) to learn about western cowboy culture. Children get to experience firsthand how a cowboy would pack his horse or Chuckwagon for a trail drive. They also learn the importance of a “brand” and get to actually “brand” a long-horn flyer!
Featured image courtesy of Cliff Baise.