CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum is a historical marvel in the Panhandle.

Nestled on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, the museum tells the rich history of the High Plains region.

“Our local history involves a global perspective,” Renea Dauntes, Research Assistant and Archivist, Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. “We were taught many of us about cattle and livestock and that it was formative in this region. Something that isn’t always talked about is the influence of European countries on this region.”

Although the High Plains can tend to feel isolated from the rest of the world at times, much of that European influence, Dauntes explained, was evident in places like the famous XIT ranch.

“We know that their syndicate a lot of the funding came from England and we have actual ranch owners that came from Scotland and Ireland, and they were a big part of what formed our area,” Dauntes explained.

The museum tells of the High Plains role in many global conflicts like wars.

Dauntes told KAMR there were POW camps in McLean and Hereford. There was also the old Air Force base just east of Amarillo, an even a lesser known flight school called Canyon home at one point.

“We actually had WT itself, they had a flying school. So they were training pilots, civilian and military pilots for a short time,” Dauntes recalled.

The city of Amarillo and many of its surrounding towns owes much of their existence to the railroad industry, which is highlighted in the museum’s transportation exhibit.

Although freight trains rule the rails around here today, plenty of passengers rode the rails around the region at one time.

The museum also has plenty of other cool stuff like its Pioneertown exhibit, and of course, the paleontology exhibit, which includes plenty of dinosaur fossils that were found in the High Plains region.

“People are fascinated by dinosaurs,” said Stephanie Price, Director of Marketing and Communications for PPHM. “I’m fascinated by dinosaurs. You know, I love when you get to see a family walk in and they have a gigantic triceratops skull. And just to imagine how those animals were around our planet and how they lived and discoveries are still being made.”

Telling the story of the High Plains, one artifact at a time.

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