By Judy Tedford Deaton, chief curator, The Grace Museum
No matter where we are on the planet, we say we are Texans. But when folks ask us what area of the state we are from, we have an identity crisis.
Our region of 22 sparsely populated counties might be listed as part of Northwest Texas, the Panhandle, the Rolling Plains, the Southern High Plains, the Hill Country, Central Texas, North Texas and West Texas, just to name a few. This lack of regional consensus may portend a lack of cultural identity. While several big cities in Texas have laid claim to long horizons, ranching and the pioneer spirit of the past, Central West Texas has all that, plus wide open spaces, well-versed local historians, generations of ranching heritage, community pride and cultural institutions to sustain a living link to our mythic frontier past.
Summer 2014 exhibitions and special events at The Grace Museum will celebrate the late 19th and early 20th century history of Central West Texas counties.
Join us as we celebrate the heritage of our “home on the range” in Central West Texas through individuals, images, visions, artifacts, truth and tall tales that inspire and create an indelible sense of place in our region the Texas prairie. On May 8, the exhibition will open just after the Western Heritage Classic Parade in downtown Abilene, which features working cowhands and passes by the museum’s historic home in the heart of Central West Texas.
The exhibit runs through Aug. 9.
The exhibit’s history of the vast area of Central West Texas (more than 20,000 square miles) is told through artifacts in remote local museums, images by artists who documented their experiences in the early years as well as hearsay and legend penned by writers of the era.
Historic photographs, films, oral histories, artifacts, maps, original artwork by early Texas artists who documented the area, legendary working ranch saddles, tack and fire arms from collections of The Grace Museum, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Buffalo Gap Historic Village, Amon Carter Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, The Old Jail Art Center, Hardin-Simmons University Libraries, Texas Archive of the Moving Image, Southern Methodist University’s Bywaters Special Collections at the Hamon Arts Library and Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs at the DeGolyer Library, National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University, Fort Griffin State Historical Site, the Fort Chadbourne Project, Fort Phantom Foundation, and many others will be on view.
Private collectors, including Tom Perini and Bobbie and John Nau, will also contribute to the exhibition of art by Frank Reaugh, L.O. Griffith, Edward Eisenlohr, Jerry Bywaters, Frederick Remington, H.O. Bugbee, W. Herbert Dunton and Harry Carnohan, among others.