Saturday, April 20, 2024

Bosque Museum

Most county museums contain items donated by the local people along with stories of the area history. The collections are fairly predictable - antique furniture, wedding dresses, old table settings, kitchen utensils. This museum is no exception but the collections are much more interesting that usual. When Bosque County, Texas was formed in 1854 the state offered 340 acres of land to each family who would settle in the region. This was very attractive to immigrants from Norway where crop failures and population growth made life difficult. Several early settlers returned to Norway to recruit people or wrote glowing letter describing their life in Texas. While the number of Norwegians who settled in Texas wasn't large it was still enough for their descendants to contribute a nice collection of Norwegian furniture and household items. There's even a log house built in 1866 that was the home of the Olsen family. 

Another unusual exhibit in the museum is a display about the Horn Shelter. This shallow shelter of overhanging rock located in Bosque County, has provided refuge for people for thousands of years. Amateur archaeologists Al Redder, Frank Watt, and Robert Forrester began excavating in the shelter in 1967. After carefully digging through many layers and preserving the artifacts they came to the final layer and a surprise. The body of a man and a child had been arranged in a circular grave with turtle shells, beads, animal claws, and other special items. The grave was covered with nineteen limestone slabs. Carbon dating puts it at 11,700 years old which makes the shelter the earliest grave site found in the US. 

Other exhibits cover fossils, art, and the Chisholm Trail.

The museum is accessible. A slightly steep ramp near the gift shop area provides access to the second level. The log house is located on an outside  patio with a ramp for access. It's possible to peek inside the door and view the interior of the house. 

RVs can be parked along the street in front of the museum or in the parking lot to the left of the museum. Museum  31.77631, -97.58534


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