Blood and treasure. It’s what drove life on the frontier. Folks here struggled, fought and died for the treasures they pursued. Some sought new opportunities, others protected a cherished way of life, and still more were motivated solely by power and wealth.
You can discover stories of Blood and Treasure at Frontier Texas! in downtown Abilene. Unveiled March 2, this new exhibit is the focus of a $2 million dollar renovation at the facility. “Generous people from all over this area donated their money and the nation’s most skilled exhibit developers brought their talents to create a new experience I am confident everyone will love” said the museum’s Executive Director, Jeff Salmon. The purpose of these major changes is to offer a completely different museum experience for visitors from the local area who visit Frontier Texas! frequently, and to take advantage of new technologies that make the experience more dramatic and entertaining.
From the moment you enter the Welcome Theater, your first stop in the exhibit, you’ll recognize major changes. The introduction to the exhibit is now a beautiful, large-screen production, enjoyed in a seated theater. While Buck Taylor, well-recognized Frontier Texas! Trail Guide, returns to provide the background narrative, you’ll also meet new characters and glean fresh information about the history of this region.
As you leave the theater, you’ll be swept into life on the frontier as it may have been thousands of years ago, where wooly mammoths and giant bison roamed and were hunted with spears. Learn how major climatic swings, advances in weaponry, and, eventually, European exploration shaped and changed the lives of those who passed through this hard and unforgiving land.
And then, come face to face with the terrifying and powerful Comanche–the warriors that dominated the frontier for over 150 years. Through stunning murals, artifacts, and photographs, the Comanche–as cunning traders, captors, negotiators, and opponents –are revealed. In this area, you’ll also meet a brand new spirit guide, one of nine life-sized holograms for which Frontier Texas! is famous. Satanta, a fierce chief who killed more whites than any other Indian on the frontier, explains why protecting, at all costs, a cherished way of life was the treasure he fought to keep.
One of the more prominent artifacts in the exhibit, and one you won’t want to miss, is the world’s most famous buffalo gun, a Sharp’s Fifty Rifle, that belonged to J. Wright Mooar. Mooar is alleged to have killed more than 20,000 Texas buffalo with this particular weapon.
Equally impressive are the three human scalps on display. Originally found on an Indian chief’s shield, these are the only scalps known to be on museum display in the United States, other than at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The true story about the two young boys who captured these scalps is fascinating.
Guns were a very real part of the Texas frontier, and they are an integral part of this exhibit, as well. In addition to the Sharps Fifty Buffalo Rifle, you’ll find the history of the revolver, first developed by Texas Rangers who needed better fire power against the Indian’s deadly bow and arrows. And, you’ll view an extensive and impressive collection of 130 Winchester Rifles and Colt Revolvers, provided to Frontier Texas! by the Fort Phantom Hill Foundation.