Monday, August 18, 2008

A Blast From The Past - My Town Monday

A fifteen minute car ride south of Amarillo gets you to the town of Canyon, Texas. Canyon is home to West Texas A&M University and on the corner of that very campus you will find the largest history museum in Texas, Panhandle Plains Historical Museum.

The museum pays hearty homage to the area and it's inhabitants through the ages from the creatures of old to the dynamics of the people today. As a former student at WTA&M I have strolled the displays often but last Thursday I went to see a specific display on temporary loan.

As a hunter, a proud Texan who fully understands the pivotal role firearms played into the formation and foundation of the west, and a person who believes in the 2nd amendment to the constitution, I was eager to see this display and learn more about Samuel Colt's legacy.

I won't go into details of the man's legacy but he took gun manufacturing and technology to new heights and much material can be found about his accomplishments. Nor do I wish to go into the politics of gun rights and ownership for this post. So let's take a closer look at the the display and museum.

My first reaction. Utter disappointment. Not only was the price of admission increased because of the display but no pictures were allowed of the colt artifacts and while I found certain items intriguing my expectations were not met. I wanted to see more items of historical significance, more story behind the items on display and less on the when and chronology of the way Colt formed his legacy. I already knew many of these tidbits. And while there was a nice collection of firearms from the colt's personal collection the items on display were no better than Panhandle Plains Historical Museum's normal display on weaponry, of which I will get to later.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but that display aside, I a wonderful day at the museum with my wife and young sons. It's always fun to watch them learn and discover new things. Let me take along.

PPHM pays considerable homage to the oil and gas heritage of the Texas Panhandle and to that affect there is a huge oil pump rig that stretches both floors of the facility. It is visible from the street via the glass front. Here is the base.

As expected my boys were excited by the dinosaurs and impressive displays of skeletal fossils. Most of which were unearthed in the Panhandle area.

Without the windmill, the early settlers never could have sustained life and livestock in this area.

As I stated PPHM has a nice display of weaponry and many of the pieces give detailed descriptions of the former owner or owners an the weapons involvement in their life. (click to enlarge the last picture of the.45 peacemaker revolver to see what I mean) The writer in me likes those little details. They get my mind to churning and I can better visualize the time and place. From the outlaw west days up to WWII the museum has guns, knives, swords, and bayonets on display. The place is a goldmine for any historical researcher wanted to get good visuals and a sense of how things were.

There are many more displays and various art galleries but for the sake of brevity and my readers eyes I will wait and do a second post on the museum in a future installment of My Town Mondays.


Robyn - Sacramento, California
Penelope the Cat -- Houston, Texas
Patti Abbott- Detroit, Michigan
Debra - Peninsula, Ohio
Reb - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Terrie Farley Moran - New York City, New York
Mary Nix - Olmsted Falls, Ohio
Barbara Martin - Toronto, Canada
Gina Black - Santa Monica California
Joshua - St Louis, Missouri
Kimberly Willis Holt - Around the block in Amarillo,Texas
PreTzel - Branson, Missouri
Barrie Summy - Killbear Provencial park, Canada
David Cranmer - Cameroon, West Africa
Clair Dickson - Ann Arbor, Michigan


pattinase (abbott) said...

Nice pics, Travis. It is fun to see your kids get a charge out of something new. I'll have one up tomorrow at 8.

David Cranmer said...

Great post and because I love history my next stop was Wikipedia where I read that an arms historian said Colt's innovative contributions "...shaped the destiny of American Firearms." Pretty heavy legacy for sure. Btw, I'll have a MTM tomorrow morning.

yellowdog granny said...

wow, how cool is that? sons would have loved going there when they were kids..probably still would...I know my dad would, as he always took the kids to the texas rangers hall of fame in waco..

mary said...

Great post Travis. I'm sending this one along to my hubby who has similar interests.

My post is up. Wait till you read about our surprise!


Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Travis,

Very eclectic museum.

My MTM post--New York City Waterfalls goes up a few minutes past midnight over at womenofmystery.

Hope you are having fun in Vegas.


holly said...

you know what they say - one man's junk is another man's very large oil thingie in a museum...

Linda McLaughlin said...

Glad you and your family enjoyed the trip to the museum even if the special exhibit was disappointing. Too bad about not being able to take pictures of the weapons. A real bummer for a writer.

I may have a My Town Monday post up tomorrow if I can get my rear in motion. I'll let you know.

Have fun in Vegas!


Robyn said...

aaaahhhh! thanks! I can't believe I made your list! I am honored!

Robin said...

Travis, we had our family reunion on campus at WT in July and many of us couldn't wait to see the Colt Exhibit and I too, was dissappointed. The coolest things (in my opinion were the 4 carat diamond rings and $80,000 "snuff boxes" given to him by sultans of something or another!) And the huge "secret service looking guy that wasn't museum security but was hired to protect the Colt exhibit...forever! It was crazy, I did distract him enough that if SE were so inclined, we could've abounded with some "plundered booty"!

All in though, PPHM is an amazing place...the Colt exhibit, not that amazing unless guns are "your thang". The history though was pretty cool.

Great post again! I am so making plans to get my MTM posts up, have some ideas but once again, gonna have to have you walk me through it, can't get a picture up to save my life! I'm a moron!

But lovable right? Tee hee!

debra said...

Nice post, Travis. My post is up.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sorry the Colt display wasn't that great. I definitely would have made the trip for that as well. I'm a sucker for displays of old weapons. And dinosaurs as well. In fact, I'm just a big kid when it comes to museums, running from one display to the next while I ooh and ahh.

Barbara Martin said...

What I saw on the scroll down to the comments I will read later, looks neat! My post will be up in the morning before 8am as I'm still writing. Brock is back.

Reb said...

It is too bad that it was a disappointment for you. It looks like a good museum.

Mine is up.

Phats said...

Nice post Travis. it's always interesting to learn about peoples towns and what not. I wish my town were more exciting

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm afraid I'd be with the kids, ooh-ing & ahh-ing over the fossils!

Joshua said...

awesome! They had an exhibit of Wild West guns a few years ago in St. Louis and it was awesome. And to continue the fun, my MTM post is up as well. Great post man.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Cool post, Travis. I would've loved the guns and the dinosaurs. Of course, museums are always cool. (Unless they're like our local museum, which is in a building smaller than most homes.) Too bad about the no pics thing at the Colt part, though.

Gina Black said...

I think I would have enjoyed the dinosaurs best.

My MTM post is up. It's about Santa Monica, California.

Cheryl Wray said...

This is a great idea for a post! I love to travel vicariously, so I will have to check those out.

Looks like some cool displays!!

(My husband and I spent this past weekend in Vicksburg, MS, which is a really cool town. You'd love it...all sorts of civil war era cannons and bayonets and such!)

Barrie said...

Hi Travis! I've never met a museum I didn't like! Fun post! And my MTM post is up. :)

preTzel said...

I'd love to visit both of those museums. If I'm ever your way you're more than welcome to come give me a tour. :D

I did another lame MTM post after I got home from work today.

David Cranmer said...

Travis, I have my MTM posted.

Clair Dickson said...

Nice post-- I agree that some of the special museum exhibits aren't as cool as the normal stuff.

I've got my MTM up finally.

Travis said...

What a shame about that Colt display. I'm fascinated by the history of weaponry such as this.

SUV Mama said...

My grandmother grew up in Canyon. It is always nice to see your posts on the area.