Issue 27 Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum John Schwartze 0 COMMENT Honoring Some of the Lone Star State’s Finest Photos by Q Concepts When it comes to the country’s best-known law enforcement organizations, few can hold a candle to the Texas Rangers. Its fame can only be rivaled by the notoriety of some of the legendary outlaws its Rangers killed or captured, such as Sam Bass and John Wesley Hardin, along with present-day criminals such as Angel “The Railroad Killer” Resendiz. It’s only fitting that someone erected a shrine to the officers who’ve served in its ranks. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco not only provides a rich history of the Rangers’ role in protecting the community, it also offers outreach and educational programs. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, is the official state-sanctioned historical complex of the Texas Rangers. It’s recommended that guests plan two hours for their visit. In 1823, Stephen F. Austin asked for a group of 10 men to volunteer as Texas Rangers to help settlers repel Native American attacks in the early days of the frontier. Today, after almost 200 years in existence (the oldest state law enforcement body in the country’s history), it continues its law enforcement activities as a statewide investigative agency. And, unbeknownst to many, women also serve within the ranks. The Texas Rangers are the oldest state law enforcement agency in the United States. Founded in 1823, this exhibit explores their early roots at the TRHFM, Waco. Founded in 1964, the state gave permission to Waco to construct the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened its doors in 1968. Tours are self-guided unless you have 10 or more people, in which case guided tours can be requested. The museum is divided up into several galleries, starting with the history of the earliest known days of the organization and working its way up to present-day activity. The Winchester Lever Action Rifle exhibit highlights the evolution of the Winchester including its Model 1873 Rifle, often termed as “The Gun That Won The West” at the TRHFM, Waco. Beginning with the Garrison Gallery, you’ll see a timeline of Ranger history and how their weapons advanced over the course of their evolvement. You’ll then find your way into the Morris Gallery, which follows the Rangers into the Prohibition Era and covers their encounter and shootout with Bonnie and Clyde. In the adjoining Brownfield Gallery you’ll see examples of criminal weapons and modern examples of cases worked by the Rangers. What’s in Stock? highlights the evolution of firearm technology utilized by the Texas Rangers from their frontier days to the present at the TRHFM, Waco. When you cross over into the Taub Gallery you’ll find a display of Ranger and Western art as well as Ranger family legacies. This will lead you to the Hall of Fame Lobby where photographs of current Rangers are on display. The adjacent theater shows a 45-minute documentary on the Rangers produced by The History Channel that repeats five times daily. The last leg of the tour brings you to the Pop Culture Gallery, where you’ll see everything from the likes of Chuck Norris’ portrayal of Walker, Texas Ranger to a mask worn by Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger during the 1950s. The museum’s educational programs exist both onsite and offsite, and the museum also contains a research center that does genealogy inquiries if you think a Ranger has been in your family. The Texas Ranger badge is an iconic symbol of the State of Texas. The TRHFM explores the authority behind the badge in “The Strength Behind the Symbol: Texas Ranger Badges and Authority” exhibit. Young ones have plenty of opportunities to stay busy with programs for Scouts as well as the Junior Texas Ranger program. Teachers even have the opportunity to bring students for classes on surveying, crime scene investigation, and basic skills required to serve in the ranks of the Texas Rangers. Thinking of holding a banquet? The facility even offers rental of their 6,000-square-foot John Knox Texas Ranger Memorial Center for your next event. You won’t leave without learning something new, and a knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer any questions about the exhibits. Firearms and history buffs will have no shortage of eye candy and opportunities to see exhibits they won’t find anywhere else. And if you were hoping to find anything on Rangers baseball, sorry, you’ll have to go to the Globe Life Park in Arlington for that. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame is a state monument that commemorates 30 Texas Ranger inductees who died in the line of service or made a significant contribution to the field. One of these Hall of Famer members is Frank Hamer, best known for bringing down the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Address 100 Texas Ranger Trail Waco, TX 76706 Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday; last guest admitted at 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and during heavy snow and ice Admission Adults: $7, children (6-12): $3 Children under 6 free Seniors (60+): $6 | Military (with ID): $6 Telephone (254) 750-8631 URL www.texasranger.org Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum employees are often asked why Texas Rangers still need guns if they’re mostly doing investigative work today. The exhibit “The Changing Face of Crime” displays some of the illegal firearms confiscated in the Waco/McLennan County area. This exhibit explains the need for law enforcement officers to still be trained in use of firearms, even if using such tools are a last resource.