Art & Artifacts
The National Ranching Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and honoring this nation’s rich ranching history. The museum has a variety of artifacts that visitors can see and structures they can visit to help deepen their understanding and appreciation of ranching culture. In addition to the artifacts is a collection of artwork that also supports the mission and objectives of the NRHC. The artwork in the possession of the NRHC does a number of things to help the organization meet its goals.
On one level, the art collection prompts an emotional response; it evokes sentimentality, awe, empathy, wanderlust or a desire for action. Some art in the collection features sweeping, majestic vistas that are inspiring and transport the visitor to a different time and place. Other works evoke the isolation and hardships that cowboys have endured during long days on trail drives. Other pieces shows cowboys engaged in more mundane activities such as looking for shade that may offer respite on the range from the bright sun.
The majority of the art collection consists of oil paintings and photographs, but there are a number of fine prints, drawings and watercolors. The art work collection is made possible by generous donations from the general public and members of the Ranching Heritage Association. We encourage you to visit the NRHC and enjoy the rich, growing collection of truly wonderful Western art.
History is more than names and dates; it is about people, places and events. One of the best ways to understand and appreciate the past is to see the relics of those who went before us. In short, artifacts help remind us that the past is real and more than a collection of stories. The NRHC has a large and growing collection of material culture that helps to bring history alive and remind us all that real people, very much like you, faced the joys and hardships of life in the vast vistas of the American West.
The NRHC has two main types of artifacts. First, there are the buildings. The structures are the most imposing artifacts in the collection and are popular with visitors. People compare the living conditions of the structures with their own. Other visitors relate with the buildings in a personal manner by telling stories of ancestors who had lived in a similar fashion. Some visitors examine the rail depot and recall having waited for a train in a wooden train station, and others walk through the 6666 Barn and recall their childhood. Other visitors stare in awe and try to imagine “living back then.” In the past few years, structures have been added to the collection and have enhanced the NRHC artifact collection.
The other group of artifacts ranges from letters to saddles to wagons to a locomotive. This is the largest group of artifacts in the NRHC collections. Within this group are small donations and large donations. Among the largest donations are the James Wheat Spur and Bit Collection which consists of over 1,000 spur pairs and singles as well as bits. Moreover, the Tandy Firearm Collection has no less than 180 vintage and antique firearms and accessories. The NRHC receives new donations of non-structure artifacts every month, and many items from this group of artifacts are on exhibit.