Museum Exhibits

Red McCombs Main Gallery

The Big Ranch Era: Three Family Legacies | October 2023 – January 2025

Temporarily closed

After the American Civil War several factors came together to spur a tremendous expansion in ranching activity. Existing ranches expanded their land holdings and new ranches appeared thanks to an influx of investment capital from both domestic and international investors. From the 1870s through the 1890s tens of millions of acres of land in Texas became fenced ranch land belonging to a wide range of ranching operations.

During this time several ranches amassed enough land individually to rival the size of many of the largest cities in the world. Some of these ranches were family businesses that were passed from one generation to another. This exhibit highlights three ranches that recently passed from family ownership to new hands: Waggoner Ranch, Swenson Ranches and the Four Sixes Ranch.

Explore these legendary ranches through photographs, story and artifacts in the main gallery.

Don and Kay Cash Gallery

1883: A Ranching Origin Story

Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 production helps tell the very real story of early settlers moving west to make a better life while struggling to conquer and endure harsh environments and unforgiving weather. These pioneer struggles turned the Western frontier into the dynamic region it is today, and portraying these struggles gives us a more accurate idea of what it took to cross the frontier, settle and survive.

This exciting exhibit features props, scripts, and other items used in the production of the hit series 1883.  The series provides the origin story for the popular Yellowstone series.

You will have an opportunity to see costumes and props used by actors and actresses in the series including Tim McGraw (James Dutton), Faith Hill (Margaret Dutton), Sam Elliott (Shea Brennan), LaMonica Garrett (Thomas), Isabel May (Elsa Dutton), and Audie Rick (John Dutton Jr.).  The exhibit includes a buckboard, campsite equipment, a saddle, and many other items that are displayed in a camping vignette that is populated with mannequins attired in costumes from the show.

Images courtesy of 101 Studios and Paramount+.

G.W. “Blue” and Lenora Stevens Gallery

Burk Burnett Bedroom in the Four Sixes Ranch “Big House”

Duplicating one of 11 bedrooms in “the big house” at the Four Sixes Ranch headquarters in Guthrie, Texas, this is a permanent NRHC exhibit with items donated by Samuel Burk Burnett’s great-granddaughter, Anne W. Marion. The Four Sixes Ranch was founded by her great-grandfather, Samuel Burk Burnett, one of the most well-known and respected ranchers in Texas. Among the Burnett pieces are the brass bed, grandfather clock, secretary, side table, fireplace and mantle, rug, books and saddle (by saddle maker R.T. Frazier). The gold-plated chandelier was originally made to function using either gas or electricity.

About the “Big House”

In 1917, Burnett decided to build “the finest ranch house in West Texas” at Guthrie. It cost $100,000, an enormous sum for the time. Prestigious architectural firm Sanguiner and Staats of Fort Worth was hired to design a grand home to serve as ranch headquarters, to house the ranch manager and as a place to entertain guests. It was constructed with stone quarried right on the ranch. Other materials were brought in by rail car to Paducah and then hauled by wagon to Guthrie.

With 11 bedrooms, it was, indeed, a favorite place to welcome guests. Burnett’s hospitality engaged such well-known visitors as President Roosevelt, Will Rogers and others. The home was filled with amazing items. In the main room, alone, visitors would see hunting trophies, exquisite art and personal items given to Burnett by his friend Quanah Parker and the Comanche chief’s wives. These priceless items remained in the house long after Burnett’s death and through several home remodeling projects. They were given by Burnett’s great-granddaughter, Anne W. Marion, to the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas. Also of interest to note is that although Burnett had a bedroom in the home’s southeast corner, he chose to sleep in the back room of the rudimentary Four Sixes Supply House, where he maintained his office.

Courtesy of 6666 Ranch. Read more about Samuel Burk Burnett, the Big House and the Four Sixes Ranch HERE

Image of the Big House courtesy of Hardin Simmons University Library, date unknown

Mary Belle Macy Gallery

Oil & Ranching

March 4, 2022 – September 4, 2024

In cooperation with the Petroleum Museum and the Haley Library in Midland, this exhibit will demonstrate how the production of oil on a ranch is incorporated into the other ranch endeavors. Text panels and possibly documents tells the story of the discovery of oil and how that affected land use across the country. With documents and oil production equipment from the Petroleum Museum, the process of accessing oil under ranch lands can be explained. Text panels carry the narrative of the history of ranching and oil.

Before the discovery of the large oil deposits in places like the Permian Basin, ranchers, such as John Chisum, John T. McElroy, C.C. Slaughter and Clarence Scharbauer understood that their enterprises were economic gambles dependent on scarce rain and drought-beaten grass. Water supplies were difficult to establish or find. There were more lean years than those with a profit. Only the hardy and self-reliant ventured into the arid lands of Texas and New Mexico. The railroads brought some opportunities, but it was a discovery of oil on those hard lands that would change the fortunes of the pioneers.

Many of the early oil wells came about by drilling for water wells. The oil discovered in the Permian Basin was a by-product of water wells. Drilling then was done by hunches of prospectors before oil geology entered as a more scientific method of finding the black gold.

McKanna Gallery

The Sculptures of T.D. Kelsey | October 2023 – October 2024

Experience Western culture through the bronze sculptures of renowned artist, T.D. Kelsey. Twelve bronzes, including 10 first editions, tell the story of the exhilarating cowboy lifestyle. Kelsey’s artwork add an important element to the history of American sculpture and, in particular, Western American bronzes.

T.D. Kelsey grew up on a Montana ranch and rodeoed for years in rough stock events and team roping while training cutting horses. His first-hand knowledge of horses—work horses, wild horses, bucking horses, cutting horses—has enabled him to produce sculptures that are full of energy and emotion.

Today, the sculptor lives on what was once the old 8’s Camp of the Four Sixes Ranch near Guthrie, Texas. It serves as his primary art studio but he also has a summer studio near Cody, Wyoming.

Kelsey’s work is found in private and public collections worldwide.  is a member emeritus of the Cowboy Artists of America and a fellow of the National Sculpture Society. His work can be found in private and public collections worldwide, including the Hall of Champions in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the C.M. Russell Museum, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and two museums in Spain.

Sculptures were permanently acquired with support from the The Burnett Foundation and The Don-Kay-Clay Cash Foundation.

Burnett Gallery

Under Construction | Temporarily Closed

Joe Flores Family Gallery

John Montford Spur Collection

This exhibit features a selection of spurs from among those donated by John Montford to the NRHC many years ago. The Montford Spur Collection covers a wide range of spurs, and this exhibit focuses on the most interesting or significant spurs from the collection. Spurs featured in the exhibit range from simple iron spurs to gleaming pairs of decorated spurs.