WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Last March, the Archer County Jail Museum was bought by Jerry Phillips and Dan Haile.
The museum is rich in history, telling the story of not only Archer County but other places around the country.
And officials said they are in the process of sorting through all the artifacts.
The history of the Archer County Museum spans more than a century.
It started out as the Archer County Jail from 1910 to 1974 and was turned into a museum very soon after.
Since then, the building has suffered from deterioration and neglect.
Once the county put it up for sale, it was bought by Jerry Phillips, John Phillips and Dan Haile who turned the museum into the nonprofit: Archer County Museum & Arts Center.
“So far I’ve gone through about three or four rooms,” Callie Lawson, Archer County Museum and Arts Center project manager, said. “Kind of cataloging everything that’s in there. Once we have a catalog of everything that’s in the building we’ll then decide what pertains to archer county history and then keep the stuff that does belong.”
Historian Jack Loftin filled the museum with local and national artifacts before his death in 2015.
Lawson has been going through all of it and said she has found some pretty interesting things.
“The other day I found a photo of like this mountain man, like wild man person that was supposedly shipwrecked in the gulf of Mexico,” Lawson said. “Some interesting kitchen appliances, you look at it and you’re like ‘what could this possibly be used for’ and it turns out to be a grater you grind a certain way.”
Lawson said the building needs a lot of work and it may be a while before the museum is open to the public.
But the museum is packed with history of the county and the community deserves to see it.
“I guess the county did not have the budget to kind of put the money into the building that needs to be restored,” Lawson said. “And because it’s a state antiquities landmark, you have to go through the texas historical commission. But being a nonprofit we have the opportunity to solely focus and give the community their building back and their history back.”
Restoring the history of Archer County as the old jail continues to be a relic of antiquity.
Lawson also said she has been reaching out to architecture firms to see what work needs to be done.