THE CATTLE RAISERS MUSEUM: A MUSEUM WITHIN A MUSEUM
A “museum within a museum,” The Cattle Raisers Museum is a 10,000-square-foot exhibition dedicated to preserving and celebrating the vital history of the cattle industry.
Visitors begin by tracing the origins and development of ranching as both an industry and cultural phenomenon in the 1850s and embark on a journey through the cattle industry and into the future of the business. The interactive gallery tells the story of the challenges and accomplishments of Texas and Southwestern cattle raisers over the past 150 years. Ride along for both an educational and entertaining experience for audiences of all ages:
The Trail Mural
Located at the entrance of the Museum, the Trail Mural is a large curving mural of the Goodnight Loving Trail by artist Tom Gilleon. The scene transitions from a thunderstorm to a hot prairie day. Lightning effects flash in the distance as moving clouds float above the far off hills. A soundscape of plodding hooves, lowing cattle, jingling spurs and Blue’s Bell will complete the experience.
The Open Range Trail: 1850 – 1890
The early challenges and triumphs of raising cattle are expressed in this area. From the formation of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association to the destructive effects of pests and the invention of barbed wire, the “Open Range” exhibit illustrates how cattle raisers got their start. From hiring cowboys, rounding up cattle on the open range, to the drives along trails to railroad towns for shipment to market, Cattle Raisers had many challenges in their early years. Here you have the opportunity to take part in a cattle drive in the “Ride Along Round Up.”
In the most interactive Cattle Raisers Museum exhibit, you face a mural of the Charles Goodnight trail and mount one of four interactive horses with computer screens to test their skills in successfully driving cattle on the open range. A fifth fixed horse station is available for those unable to participate in the simulated ride.
The New Horizons Trail: 1890 – 1940
Along the “New Horizons Trail.” you’ll see growth, expansion and booming business, as well as drought and the Great Depression’s toll on the cattle industry. During this time, women and children arrive on the scene and with them the beginnings of major ranches including the King Ranch. Additionally, trains and stockyards are introduced, and brand inspectors look out for rustlers to make the job of the cowboy easier. This trail features the Cattle Car Theater, branding games and “Run-A-Ranch,” a digitally-enhanced, interactive game where you can build and manage the daily operations of your own virtual ranch.
Test your skills in a computer-based program that allows you to become a rancher. You’re given a start-up allowance and asked to operate a ranch. Set at the turn of the century, this interactive ranching game takes your choices and purchases and plots how your ranch would fare over the course of a year in the early days of cattle raising.
The Vision Trail: 1940 – 2000
With the mass exodus of cowboys and ranchers off to World War II, women, older men, migrants and boys begin running the ranches. Cattle raisers responded by mechanizing ranches to compensate for labor shortages and to meet wartime beef demand. In the “Vision Trail,” you’ll follow as more modern and practical ways of bringing herd to market including rail, trucks and highway systems come into being. Local livestock auctions, and stock shows like the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo gain popularity and showcase the pomp and circumstance surrounding cattle raising. Here you’ll learn the ways in which cattle raisers made their businesses more efficient, and see the rise in the smaller “mom & pop” style operations due to modern transportation opportunities.
Digital Trail – 2000 – Present
Along the “Digital Trail” you’ll watch as innovation and technology take the cattle industry into the 21st century. Featuring an interactive display on the nutritional aspects of beef, this exhibit showcases the ever-growing list of products you use every day that are derived from cattle including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, household goods, textiles, clothing and transportation. The “Digital Trail” displays current innovations in the cattle raising industry including a microchipping device, GPS tracking, online auctions, virtual fences and the bovine genome project.
Thundering Herd Multimedia Experience
The 90-seat Noble Planetarium invites you to sit and watch a brief yet informative history on the diversity of cattle raisers. See and hear from cowboys huddled around campfires, vaqueros recounting the first livestock to arrive from Spain into the New World, and Native Americans that hunted bison. Little do they know a stampede is coming right for them at the end of the show! Thundering Herd shows in the Noble Planetarium daily at 10:15, 11:00, 11:15 am, 12:00, 12:15, 1:00, 1:15, 2:00, 2:15, 3:00, 3:15, 4:00, and 4:15 pm.