Texas’ Largest History Museum: The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

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Tony Maples Photography


Texas’ largest history museum ofter dubbed the Smithsonian of Texas is The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM). Located in Canyon, Texas, it’s a must for history buffs to enjoy the day covering over “26,000 square miles” in a day, according to its website, and “view one of the Southwest’s finest art collections, experience the exciting history of the petroleum industry, and more.”

Step back in time and take a tour of PPHM and you will learn not only about the life and times of the Old-West in a life size Pioneer town but also about dinosaurs and conquistadors, and stories of hope and courage. “It is the sacred duty of ours to collect the record of life here and hand this on to the children of the future,” visionary founder Hattie Anderson once said, “and we believe in the future our people will point with pride to their museum and the historical society,” shares the PPHM website.

The PPHM opened in 1933 and has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. The public began donating artifacts associated with the history of the areas soon after it opened.

“In 1941, Walter Irvin gave a Ford Model A (number 28 off the assembly line), in honor of his daughter, Miss Peggy Irvins,” states its website. “The basement of the second addition was funded with a grant from the Texas Centennial Commission, a WPA agency, thereby making PPHM a Texas Centennial museum.”

The museum has since doubled in size. A $6 million grant in 1986 from the Don and Sybil B. Harrington Foundation, gave room for a massive construction expansion of the existing museum earning PPHM the title of the largest history museum in Texas, according to its website. There are “over two million artifacts—dedicated to preserving this area’s past.”

Looking for that last minute summer retreat for the kids? This is a great place to catch up on some Texas history just in time before the new school year begins. For more about PPHM visit www.panhandleplains.org.