HISTORY THE BRAND PERMANENT GALLERIES COLLECTIONS
In 1979, with a rich history behind them and a vision of continued progress ahead, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association members formed the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation. Intent on preserving and protecting the heritage of the livestock industry of the Southwest, the Foundation’s goals included educating students and the general public as to the cattleman’s independent nature, pride in the free enterprise system, devotion to private land ownership and commitment to environmental stewardship. The Cattle Raisers Museum officially opened in 1981 to build a greater public awareness of and appreciation for our ranching heritage. In November, 2009, the Museum relocated and re-opened within the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History located in the historic cultural district.
THE CATTLE RAISERS BRAND
The Longhorn head formed by the facing
numbers 7 and 7 resting on a bar signify
the founding of Texas and Southwestern
Cattle Raisers Association in 1877.
The three parts of the continuous circle
represent the independence, courage
and commitment of generations of
ranching families who built the industry.
The horns extending outside the circle
symbolize a vision with
no boundaries or limitations
Located within the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Cattle Raisers Museum is a 10,000-square-foot exhibition dedicated to preserving and celebrating the vital history of the cattle industry.
Visitors begin by tracing the origins and development of ranching as both an industry and cultural phenomenon in the 1850s and embark on a journey through the cattle industry and into the future of the business. The interactive gallery tells the story of the challenges and accomplishments of Texas and Southwestern cattle raisers over the past 150 years. Ride along for both an educational and entertaining experience for audiences of all ages:
The Open Range Trail: 1850 – 1890
The early challenges and triumphs of raising cattle are expressed in this area. From the formation of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association to the destructive effects of pests and the invention of barbed wire, the “Open Range” exhibit illustrates how cattle raisers got their start. From hiring cowboys, rounding up cattle on the open range, to the drives along trails to railroad towns for shipment to market, Cattle Raisers had many challenges in their early years. Here you have the opportunity to take part in a cattle drive in the “Ride Along Round Up.”
The New Horizons Trail: 1890 – 1940
Along the “New Horizons Trail.” you’ll see growth, expansion and booming business, as well as drought and the Great Depression’s toll on the cattle industry. During this time, women and children arrive on the scene and with them the beginnings of major ranches including the King Ranch. Additionally, trains and stockyards are introduced, and brand inspectors look out for rustlers to make the job of the cowboy easier. This trail features the Cattle Car Theater, branding games and “Run-A-Ranch,” a digitally-enhanced, interactive game presented by Lone Star Ag Credit where you can build and manage the daily operations of your own virtual ranch.
The Vision Trail: 1940 – 2000
With the mass exodus of cowboys and ranchers off to World War II, women, older men, migrants and boys begin running the ranches. Cattle raisers responded by mechanizing ranches to compensate for labor shortages and to meet wartime beef demand. In the “Vision Trail,” you’ll follow as more modern and practical ways of bringing herd to market including rail, trucks and highway systems come into being. Local livestock auctions, and stock shows like the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo gain popularity and showcase the pomp and circumstance surrounding cattle raising. Here you’ll learn the ways in which cattle raisers made their businesses more efficient, and see the rise in the smaller “mom & pop” style operations due to modern transportation opportunities.
Digital Trail – 2000 – Present
Along the “Digital Trail” you’ll watch as innovation and technology take the cattle industry into the 21st century. Featuring an interactive display on the nutritional aspects of beef, this exhibit showcases the ever-growing list of products you use every day that are derived from cattle including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, household goods, textiles, clothing and transportation. The “Digital Trail” displays current innovations in the cattle raising industry including a microchipping device, GPS tracking, online auctions, virtual fences and the bovine genome project.
Thundering Herd Multimedia Experience
The 90-seat Noble Planetarium invites you to sit and watch a brief yet informative history on the diversity of cattle raisers. See and hear from cowboys huddled around campfires, vaqueros recounting the first livestock to arrive from Spain into the New World, and Native Americans that hunted bison. Little do they know a stampede is coming right for them at the end of the show!
Thundering Herd showtimes in the Noble Planetarium:
Weekdays: 10:50am/ 11:50am/12:50pm/1:50pm/3:45pm
Don C. King Legacy Headquarters
The Don C. King Legacy Headquarters gallery pays tribute to great cattle raisers, past and present. Interactive kiosks feature images and text of individuals who built and continue to impact the industry. Artifacts of these individuals are housed in pull-out drawers in specially designed cherry wood cabinets.
Currently located in the Jane and John Justin Gallery is the exhibit, Treasures from the Vault, artifacts from the Cattle Raisers Museum collection. This exhibit is on display until October 2016.
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Ken Spain Saddle Collection
In 1992, the Cattle Raisers Museum acquired 14 saddles collected by Ken Spain of Aledo, Texas. Dating from the 1850s to the 1920s, the saddle styles vary from a half seat to a full seat, loop seat, and double and single rigging. Currently on exhibit is a F. A. Meanea saddle which was among the first fully tooled saddles with matching bags as well as a saddle from the 1870s by well-known maker J.S. Collins. The collection also contains the only known saddle by Helena, Montana maker Peter Franklin, and a Miles City, Montana saddle recognized as one of the finest in existence today. The acquisition of this magnificent saddle collection was made possible by a partial donation by Ken Spain and by a grant from the G. Rollie White Trust of Fort Worth.
Joe Russell Spur Collection
Purchased from retired San Angelo rancher Joe Russell, this collection of 52 pairs of spurs includes works of artistic distinction and historical interest. Oscar Crockett, P. M. Kelly, and J. R. McChesney --- the big three Texas-style spur makers --- are well represented. So too are eastern spur producers like the August Buermann Manufacturing Company, famous for the inexpensive and ubiquitous "O.K" style spurs. Hand-forged spurs, made by individual Texas craftsmen, are also highlighted. One pair of brass spurs, made in the King Ranch blacksmith shop, was worn by a cowboy in the 1930s. The Cattle Raisers Museum acquired this outstanding spur collection with support from the G. Rollie White Foundation Trust in 1996.
Leonard Stiles Branding Iron Collection
In 1989, Leonard Stiles, former Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association brand inspector, presented 1,014 branding irons to the Cattle Raisers Museum. While the sheer numbers are impressive, it is Stiles' meticulous documentation that makes this branding iron collection exceptional. Stiles recorded how he acquired each iron, the ranch that registered the iron, and the dates it was in use. The Stiles collection is thus an outstanding resource for researchers interested in Texas brands. Moreover, it includes historically significant irons like the Spanish brand that belonged to Stephen F. Austin, the 1819 J Cross W brand --- the oldest iron continually used by a single Texas family --- plus branding irons registered by celebrity ranchers such as Nolan Ryan (Texas Rangers pitcher), Lee Roy Jordan and Chuck Howley (former Dallas Cowboys linebackers); and actor John Wayne. 322 branding irons are on display within the New Horizons Trail.
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