Every city has its own set of museums. It's how we document history or call attention to quirky industries. San Antonio, for example, has a museum dedicated to toilet seats. Some of the museums come and go. For years, Plano had a Cockroach Hall of Fame where the owner of a pest supply store dressed up these little undesirables in bright costumes and arranged them in adorable scenarios. Sadly, this bastion of culture has closed. Also sad: The Eight Track Museum, which celebrates the age of gas guzzlers with quadraphonic stereos, faces doom too. This list grows a little more normal each passing day.
Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum
Just outside of Dallas, in Greenville, you can learn about the history of cotton picking in Texas and stop by the Audie Murphy War Memorial. Fun fact (for a given value of fun): In 1911 Greenville was home to the world's largest inland cotton compress, which means the city could press 2,073 bales each day. And that's just one fluff of cotton history. Admission is $6 for adults. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. (Though it's unrelated to the museum, we stumbled across a YouTube video that offers up some ugly cotton-picking history about racism when King Cotton ruled. Warning: NSFW, offensive content.)
World's Largest Dog Museum
Tucked into an antique shop just north of Waco is the largest tribute to man's best friend, with nearly 10,000 bark-worthy collectibles. It's free to peruse and open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Will you learn much? Doubtful. Will you be confused a little? Yes. Will you smile a lot? Definitely.
Dallas Fire Museum
Don't expect pyrotechnic pleasure at this small firehouse near Fair Park. The Fire Museum documents the men who quell the flames, not those who light them. It's easy to forget Dallas is a city with much history. Let Old Tige serve as a reminder. Admission is $4 for adults. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.
Dr Pepper Museum
OK, so this is disappointing, but even at the namesake museum you won't be sampling a sweet, unique blend of 23 flavors. Here, you'll find a collection of relevant antiques and learn the history of the Texas-born sugar sipper. Enthusiasts for the drink built this museum inside the bowels of the first factory dedicated exclusively to bottling Dr Pepper. It's a fun collection of antiques and paraphernalia. Admission is $8 for adults. Hours 10 a.m.-4:15 Monday-Saturday and noon-4:15 p.m. Sunday.
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame
No, not the baseball team. History buffs know the Texas Rangers as horse-riding lawmen. Non-history buffs can learn all about them at this Waco museum. Open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $7.
Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Waco has lots of fame, apparently, and needs a load places store it. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame is another example It covers sports from football to track and field. Admission is $6 for adults. It's open 9 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Frontiers of Flight Museum
We've been flying for a century, and airplanes remain marvels of modern engineering. Like most flight museums, Frontiers of Flight is dedicated to the more remarkable milestones in the history of human flight. There's even a NASA spacecraft, along with a Southwest Airlines plane sticking its nose into the museum. Admission for adults is $10. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday–Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
Dallas Heritage Village
Want to see what Dallas used to look like? Think the log cabin in the middle of downtown is lame, as far as tourist attractions go? Need to entertain your kids for an afternoon? Just south of downtown the Dallas Heritage Village is a small settlement of historic houses that replicate 19th century Dallas. Admission is $9 for adults. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday.
Three Valley Museum in Durant, Oklahoma
Next time you're headed up to Choctaw to play the slots, take a few minutes to putz around this history museum. God knows, you could stand to lose less money. The museum is an inside look at both Choctaw culture and the pioneers who settled alongside them in Bryan County, named for local boy William Jennings Bryan. It's open 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
With its female forward approach to history, this museum is packed with information and fun displays about the women who slid into some fashionable boots and rode out West. Annie Oakley wasn't the only girl who could shoot with the boys. Admission is $10 for adults. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 12 -5 p.m. Sunday.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.