Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum, Cuero

#285 of 602 in Museums in Texas
Must see · History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
At the dawn of the new millennium, a group of area citizens formed the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum Board of Trustees, dedicated to the founding and perpetuation of a museum to tell the story of South Central Texas’s proud contribution to the twin legends of the Texas cowboy and the Longhorn.

In 2002, the CTHM Board acquired the 10,000-square-foot historic Knights of Pythias Hall, the Jewel Lodge, located at 302 North Esplanade, on Cuero’s main North-South thoroughfare. Designed by James Wahrenberger, Texas’s first professionally degreed architect, the two-story building was soon submitted and approved for a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark designation. Built in 1903, it was made a contributing structure to Cuero’s National Register ‘Downtown Commercial Historic District.’

Soon after the purchase, the board hired one of the state’s most renowned preservation architects, David Hoffman, to create a restoration master plan for the historic building. In 2007, retired Smithsonian curator and historian Lonn Taylor and historian Bruce Shackelford worked with the board to craft the Museum’s interpretive plan. This work was accomplished in part with matching funds from We the People, a program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas.

Lewis Fisher of Fisher-Heck Architects was recruited to continue the work begun by Hoffman, and complete the rehabilitation of the facility and design a new two-story, 4,500-square-foot annex. The complex’s architectural plans and subsequent construction successfully passed review by the Texas Historical Commission and the National Park Service. After continued fundraising success, including matching funds from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Save America’s Treasures program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the U.S. Department of the Interior, the building phase of the project was completed in 2010. The total investment was approximately $2,472,000.

The 5,000-square-foot ground floor of the building serves as the home of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum, including the museum office, the gift shop, and the permanent exhibit space developed and installed by design team Drew Patterson and Pony Allen, while the second floor was unveiled as a multi-purpose, events and meeting facility. Once the setting for ceremonial meetings and dinners of the historic Knights of Pythias, the three restored rooms, 700, 840, and 1,280 square feet, respectively, are part of the expanded Friar Thomas Community Facility Center, which also includes a professional-grade catering kitchen. In addition to providing space for the Museum to hold its own indoor functions, this facility is now made available for rental by the public for such special events as weddings, birthdays, cocktail parties, lectures and meetings.

In the culmination of a dream more than fourteen years in the making, the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum held its grand opening celebration on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
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Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
26 reviews
  • I learned about this museum in a travel mag. What a great story with beautifully curated artifacts and fun interactive activities for kids AND adults. The movie was produced by the producers of the...  more »
  • Well done Cuero. Good video, saddles for the kids to try out. Good informative displays. Reasonable entry fees.  more »
  • This is a very well done museum and totally worth the price of admission. It's not a very big place, but there are lots of displays and lots of information to read, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. There's also a very well done movie that should not be missed while you're there. Don't forget to check out the gift shop on your way out because they've got some cute stuff and it's very reasonably priced!
  • Very nice and informative on TX history.

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