This past summer, the 109 year old Former Texas Rangers Association marked a historic milestone with the opening of The Texas Ranger Museum located in the world famous Buckhorn Museum.  The Texas Ranger Museum, which is a joint project of the Association and the Buckhorn,  opened in August and is located just two blocks from the Alamo and 50 yards from the largest tourist attraction in San Antonio, The RiverWalk. 

    The Texas Ranger Museum occupies 8,000 square feet and creates a dynamic guest experience that depicts the vast history of the Texas Rangers.  The museum is divided into three distinct venues.  First, the Ranger Gallery begins the adventure by portraying the early history of the Rangers originating with Stephen F. Austin’s colony and the formation of the Ranger Force through the mid-1800’s.  Next, guests enter Tales of the Texas Rangers, a gallery of fifteen displays each depicting a unique story that showcases the dynamic history of the Rangers.  Exhibits featured in the Tales of the Texas Rangers will rotate periodically providing guests a new experience each time they visit the museum. 

         The final stop in the museum is Ranger Town, a recreation of old San Antonio that encourages guests to explore and learn more about life as a Ranger in the old West.  Ranger Town features eleven storefronts with names that take guests back to San Antonio at the turn of the century. 

     Frost Bank, L. Frank Saddlery, Charles Hummel Gun Shop, Hart’s Cigar Store and Albert’s Saloon are just a few of the historic merchants represented.   Ranger Town will not only look like old San Antonio but sound like it as well with sound effects recreating the sounds of the era. 

     The centerpiece of Ranger Town is the Bonnie and Clyde Exhibit complete with a 1934 Ford restored to recreate the ambush of these most notorious outlaws by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. The Texas Ranger Museum will house many of the artifacts formerly displayed at the Association’s museum in Memorial Hall, located adjacent to the Witte Museum in San Antonio.

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                   Founded in 1936 as a part of the Texas Centennial, Memorial Hall memorialized the history of the Pioneers, Trail Drivers and the Texas Rangers.  With access to only one-third of the limited space, the Association board began looking at options to expand and update the Ranger exhibit portion of the museum over six years ago. 

            “Memorial Hall has allowed us to showcase our history for the past 70 years,” said retired Texas Ranger Captain and FTRA President Dan North.  “Now, as the Association has grown and the current facility became outdated, we felt compelled to explore another option for our memorabilia that will allow even more people to share in the rich history and heritage of the Texas Rangers.” 

            The move to the Texas Ranger Museum does just that.  Averaging over 200,000 guests each year and located in the heart of the historic downtown district, the Buckhorn location provides greater access to visitors and a secure, climate controlled environment to protect the exhibits and artifacts. 

            “We are thrilled that the Texas Ranger Museum has found a new home at the Buckhorn,” said General Manager Dave George.  “The Buckhorn Museum has been an important part of the history of San Antonio for the past 125 years and it’s only fitting that we partner with an organization committed to preserving Texas Ranger history that has been around almost as long as we have.” 

            The Association board was motivated to move forward with this project due a recent development affecting the Texas Ranger exhibit at Memorial Hall.  The City of San Antonio has granted the Witte Museum management rights to Memorial Hall and plans are to make the venue a part of the Witte’s South Texas Cultural Exhibit.  While current plans are for the Rangers to have a portion of this exhibit, the Association will be allotted a substantially smaller display which will be unable to showcase a majority of the memorabilia and artifacts.  Additionally, the Witte Museum will control the admissions thereby limiting the revenue potential for the Association. 

            “We believe that this joint venture with the Buckhorn will be a great asset for the Association,” said North.  “Not only will the publicity and exposure be of great value to the Association, but the revenue and multiple opportunities provided will serve us well.” 

            The Texas Ranger Museum, as the rest of the Buckhorn exhibits, will be available for private events including the May Reunion of the Association.  Additionally, the Association will have the opportunity to host educational activities and special appearances throughout the year.   

            The Buckhorn Museum is open daily through Labor Day from 10 am to 6 pm and is located at 318 East Houston Street.  Admission is $10.99 for adults and $7.99 for children.  Association members will receive admission discounts on visits to the Texas Ranger Museum by showing their Association identification card. 

            “I would like to personally invite all Association members to stop by and see the Texas Ranger Museum,” said George.  “I think the members will be really impressed with our effort to preserve Texas Ranger history.”

To Visit the Texas Ranger Museum, go to http://www.buckhornmuseum.com