Since it opened in 1969, thousands of visitors have made Pioneer Town at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) their favorite exhibit. Now, it’s getting a facelift.

"PPHM's renovation of Pioneer Town demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality learning environments for the enrichment of our visitors. It will be interactive, exploratory and engaging for all visitors, allowing them to better understand the past and show the common threads of the human experience," PPHM Director Guy C. Vanderpool said.

Renovation plans call for the removal of the old floor tiles and asbestos abatement. New flooring will look and feel appropriate to a turn-of-the century town. The new exhibition will create a dynamic learning environment that includes authentic sights and sounds, many fully-accessible structures and hands-on interactivity. All these facets will encourage visitors to reminisce, make connections between generations and discover differences and similarities between “then and now.”

Once completed, visitors will enter the pioneer town through a railroad depot facade, like the early settlers who rode the rails to the region for the first time. From there, they will be encouraged to enter the land office, where they will find reproduction maps of historic Panhandle Plains towns as well as advertising for goods and services available in town.

Hands-on activities at the residences located on the east end of town will offer additional opportunities to walk in the footsteps of settlers. A horse-drawn hearse parked next to the furniture dealer/undertaker’s shop will not only show visitors that multitasking is nothing new, but also that, to the settlers, life and death were every-day occurrences. Fronts for a barber shop, photographer’s studio, drug store, jewelry store and feed and seed store, along with signage for other enterprises will round out the turnof-the-century town.

“Pioneer Town is going to be transformed. It will be like comparing the old black and white reruns of Gunsmoke to Lonesome Dove. They’re both entertaining, but Lonesome Dove pulled you into the story and wouldn't let you go,” Panhandle-Plains Historical Society Board President Carol Lovelady said.

An opening date has not been set but you can find information on the renovations and pictures of the progress on The project is generously sponsored by the Canyon Economic Development Corporation, M.S. Doss Foundation, the Mary E. Bivins Foundation and Amarillo National Bank.


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