Over the next four weeks, we're going back out on the road in our continued tour of Texoma.
This time, we're going to look at some unique, fun, and local outings, where families can go and learn more about our heritage here at home.
Charles Campbell/Executive Director: "Well, welcome to the Museum of North Texas History. This is our current, main exhibit which is on Rotary International, with a focus on Wichita Falls, Iowa Park and Burkburnett Rotary Clubs."
The Museum of North Texas History, at 720 Indiana in downtown Wichita Falls, offers visitors a glimpse into the storied past of Wichita County and its surrounding areas.
Campbell: "This is our heritage hall, the most notable feature of which is our best known display, which is Nat's Hats, which came from Nat Fleming and The Cow Lot."
For about 55- years, Nat Fleming's loyal customers at The Cow Lot would hang their old hats up on his walls when it was time for those hats to retire.
Then, in 2007, when Nat decided to do the same, he donated those hats to this museum, to help ensure our late hometown heroes timeless stories, made through work and sweat, would live on.
Campbell: "We have folks come in and they immediately recognize names and say, oh that's my uncle, or I grew up with his kids, or that's my dad's best friend, on and on and on."
And, Museum Executive Director, Charles Campbell says the excitement's sometimes even greater for people from out of state or country.
Campbell: "...because they want to see Texas stuff. And, it doesn't get more Texas than a big collection of cowboy hats."
Perkins Timberlake Ladies Apparel is among the many other things that sit in this same room with Nat's Hats, along with Brook & 8th Drug Store.
Over here by the Monroe Street Post Office, sits our very own Joe Brown's display as well, and just across the hall is the Wichita County Archives room, where real data for historians is just waiting to be found.
Lita Watson: "Well, we have all kinds of things for research. We have photographs, we have city directories. A lot of times people will come in looking for the history of the house they want to buy or live in, and we can go back to city directories and find information about the location of the house, and we can usually find information about the person who built the house."
Archivist, Lita Watson says there's information here on wichita county dating back at least to the late 1800's.
Watson: "This is a tax roll for 1901, and the taxes weren't as much then."
Campbell: "This is the inside of the Monroe Street Post Office, and the building is still there. It looks exactly the same, but it's gutted. And, we're fortunate enough to have the inside of the actual post office there."
Campbell: "This is our oil and gas area."
Campbell: "Back in this corner, we have a lot of items that are related to gasoline stations. We have the great globes that would go on the tops of gas pumps, and we've got an early gas pump, and we've got an oil dispenser there."
The oil exhibit relives both the modern and glory days of the oil boom in North Texas, while just down the hall, the military collection, that ranges from the Civil War to modern conflicts, Offers up more than 3- thousand items,
including flags, weapons and uniforms.
Campbell: "All of these uniforms belonged to people who lived here in the area, and that makes it very special. It gives us a very special connection."
Campbell: "We're looking at a collection of hats and combat helmets, basically from W.W.I. all the way up to more present times. And, my favorite thing is this W.W.I army helmet. You can tell, that's solid."
Campbell: "We have some combat gear. We have some camouflage. We have some displays on W.W.II nose art from planes. We have this right in front of us here that was used as a napalm bomb in Vietnam."
Easily, somebody could spend an entire afternoon here.
Campbell: "Oh, absolutely. I mean we have our military collection, our oil and gas collection. We've got our timeline project, that has lots of great information. We've got our Native American Room, a textile display, Heritage Hall. I mean, it's so much more. There's just so much to see here.
From an amazing collection of about 50- ships, there are models made with staggering detail with things like PVC pipe, poker chips and tooth picks, to the Iwo Jima room, which is the centerpiece of the military collection, to a theater and so much more, including a display that would make our local citizens proud who've given so much throughout the years in groups like, The Rotary Club, The Museum of North Texas History offers proof enough, history is not something dull and musty.
It's a connection to our past, and in many ways, Our future.
Campbell says much of what's on display at the museum is on loan from private collections, and most of it's been donated.
If you'd like to see the Museum of North Texas History for yourself, and all there we did not have time to show you, just call this number for more information.