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Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in Texas, is housed in the campus of West Texas A&M University, 15 minutes south of Amarillo, in Canyon, Texas. The museum stands as a gateway to the history of the Panhandle-Plains region. Hattie Anderson, who moved to Canyon, Texas, in 1920 to teach history at West Texas State Normal College, L.F. Sheffy, the head of the college's history department, along with seven other faculty members and about 30 students, laid the foundation of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society in early 1921. Their vision to collect and preserve the history, both human and natural, of the region. Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum showcases more than three million artifacts, covering the exhibit areas of petroleum, western heritage, paleontology, textiles, furniture and decorative art, transportation, and fine art. An imaginative new hands-on exhibit, "People of the Plains: Experiments in Living," exemplifies the lifestyle of various groups of people living on the Southern Great Plains during the past 14,000 years, comparing and contrasting their various cultural aspects. All the exhibits in the museum are protected by the conservation center, established in 1979. The research center collects and preserves manuscripts, historical photographs, oral history interviews, and manufacturers' trade literature. The museum store features a large collection of logo hats and shirts, cowboy memorabilia, T-shirts, educational toys, books, Native American jewelry, and the fine arts of Texas and the Southwest. The museum provides free admission for all school groups, when reservations are made through the Education Department.