To preserve and interpret the history of ranching in North America and address contemporary ranching issues.
Although the museum and historical park at Texas Tech University were not formally dedicated until 1976, the concept of a center to preserve the history of ranching began in 1966 with a unique partnership between Texas Tech and the Ranching Heritage Association, a non-profit member organization that supports the efforts of the center.
With 30 of its 50 historic structures between 100 and 177 years old, the historical park speaks volumes about the frontier settlers who lived in those structures and created legends and history in the process.
The historic structures at the NRHC have been chronologically arranged to exhibit the evolution of ranch life from the late 1700s through the mid-1900s. All the structures but one were relocated, restored, and furnished for period correctness. A mile-and-a-half of paved pathways provides wheelchair and stroller access to each structure. Posted signs give a history of the structures in both English and Spanish. Visitors with smartphones can download an app that will locate them in the park and provide photos, audio and text about each structure they view.
In addition to the 19-acre historical park, the NRHC has 42 life-size bronze outdoor art pieces and a 44,000-square-foot museum with seven galleries featuring permanent as well as temporary exhibits of art, photography and artifacts that capture historical and contemporary Western life.