One couldn't ask for a better day as 16 members and 1 guest began a trip down to League City on the Harris County bus,
After our stomachs were full, it was on the bus for the 5-minute trip to The Butler Longhorn Museum, in the heart of the League City Historic District. The museum is housed in the historic three-story Butler Ranch home and is packed full of longhorn history and irreplaceable artifacts, surrounded by huge, old oak trees and nearby Heritage Park. Monica Hughes, Museum Director, met us just outside and took a group picture in front of the museum entrance. She served as our tour guide for close to two hours.
The first floor contained a foyer with a large, stuffed longhorn, a gift shop, and a video theater. The first DVD short video covered the history and physical characteristics of longhorn cattle in Texas. The narrative was told about six pioneer breeders who brought the longhorn back from near extinction.
It highlighted two founding organizations, (Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Registry and (Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Conservancy. In short, original longhorns were of Spanish descent, but crossbreeding had reduced the pure longhorns drastically through the years and they were nearing extinction. In the 1990's these organizations began using genetic testing to determine purity, weeding out African and English "mutts". Visiting the websites mentioned gives a ready read of the spoken narrative within the video.
The second floor had lots of finger-painted art (all for sale), and numerous placards describing the Butler family and switchover to the longhorn as their preferred livestock due to their survivability in the Texas elements: hot-cold-wet-dry. Multiple displays had the horns (which are hollow to the tip and mostly composed of calcium) cut, shaped and polished for daily use. Chairs and other household/clothing furnishings (e.g., buttons) were constructed from the horns.
There was also a massive display of short strands of barbwire, customized so that property owners could be recognized by their fences. Between floors was a map of the old Chisholm Trail, starting in San Antonio, where 6 million longhorns were taken via trail rides to Abilene for rail shipments East.
The third floor featured another painter's artwork (spray can only), a display of old guns, numerous saddles, and what was called the "barn" room, featuring a rope bed and a mobile chair/potty and a baby's bathtub and numerous other artifacts.
We ended the tour with a PBS video of the life and times of Annie Oakley, a unique woman legend in American Heritage. The outside grounds were beautiful as we looked around on the way back to the bus.
Want a limited online tour? Visit their website at www.ButlerLonghornMuseum.com.
Join us soon on another exciting Day Trip.
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