View of Texas artist room. Photo by J. Griffis Smith, 2007.

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, the state’s largest history museum and a treasured cultural resource for the region and state, is struggling in the face of declining visitorship and budget cuts.

In an article published this week in the Texas Observer, the magazine’s managing editor, Rose Cahalan, reports the museum’s attendance has declined 53 percent since 1994, and its funding has been steadily cut by the Texas Legislature, which provides a quarter of the museum’s annual budget.

The museum opened in 1933 and features exhibits on the people, industries, and environment of the region. As it struggles with limited finances, the museum has lost several staff members, including experienced and knowledgeable curators who have left for greener pastures, the Observer reports.

“I don’t know what’s to become of the museum,” Bill Green, curator emeritus, tells the Observer. “This place is one of the best-kept secrets in Texas.”

In the state’s most sparsely populated region, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is one of a few cultural resources around and just a 15-minute drive away from major tourist destination Palo Duro Canyon.

We suggest reading the Observer’s full report about the museum’s struggles and then scheduling a visit for yourself. While in the Panhandle, also check out the River Valley Pioneer Museum in Canadian, the Amarillo Zoo, the Official State Bison and Longhorn Herds, and Doves Rest Resort.

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