WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum has so many pieces of history from the first Texas ranger badge to pop culture references to our current Texas Rangers.
Stephen F. Austin first formed the Texas Rangers in 1823 when Texas was still part of Mexico.
“The rangers are arguably the best known historical thing in Texas after the Alamo,” Museum Director Byron Johnson said. “And so over a series of years the state of Texas, the legislature and the city of Waco came together and started the museum.”
The museum opened in 1968 and has had over five million people visit since opening.
It has thousands of historical artifacts all relating to the Texas Rangers, from the first ranger badge to pop culture references and television shows like Walker Texas Ranger.
“We have a lot of props that Chuck Norris gave us when they closed Walker Texas Ranger down and so you can learn not only about the real rangers, but also the TV rangers.”
For crime junkies, the museum has multiple exhibits relating to criminals rangers have apprehended throughout the years, two of the most famous being Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
“Former Texas Rangers were the ones that were involved in ending their crime spree,” Johnson told FOX 44 News. “And we have artifacts and materials from Bonnie and Clyde and from the posse that ended their criminal career on display.”
Johnson says they are continually receiving artifacts and donations and they are hoping to expand the museum because there just isn’t enough space for all the history.
“The rangers are still very much active and we still get artifacts that they have are using and have just taken out of service in the collections. And we also have people that are donating some artifacts that are 100 or 150 years old to the collections.”
Johnson’s hope is people leave the museum knowing not only the history of the Texas rangers but seeing their growth and how they’ve changed since 1823.
“Every time Texas has changed, the rangers have changed to serve the needs of the state. The other thing is Texas being as large as it is, there will always be a need for an agency that can go anywhere in the state as long as there is a Texas, there will be Texas Rangers.”
So if you live in the area and you haven’t been to the museum yet, definitely come check it out because there’s always going to be something new to see.