The Homer Garrison Texas Ranger Museum opened in 1968. It was built under the auspices of the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission, established by the legislature in 1971, and was turned over to the city of Waco. It was originally named in honor of Col. Homer Garrison, Jr., director of the Texas Department of Public Safety from 1935 until 1969. The museum holds thirty-three separate displays relating to the Texas Rangers and pioneer Texas history. Among the most important artifacts are the knife and rifle James Bowie used at the battle of the Alamo. A fine collection of percussion Colt revolvers includes the very rare Colt Paterson and Colt Walker. Many famous names are attached to the items in these display cases: Lawrence S. (Sul) Ross, William Jesse McDonald, Manuel (Lone Wolf) Gonzaullas, Francis A. (Frank) Hamer, and Capt. John R. Hughes. The collection also includes weapons carried by such notorious Old West characters as Billy the Kid (see MCCARTY, HENRY), Bass Outlaw, and John Selman. But pistols, rifles, badges, spurs, and saddles of rangers occupy most of the display space. In 1976 the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame was built to house the portraits and biographies of the most famous Texas Rangers. It also contains wax figures depicting the rangers and their dress and equipment from frontier days to modern times. The Hall of Fame building also houses the Moody Texas Ranger Memorial Research Library, which has a microfilm bank of Texas Ranger service records from the years 1847 to 1935, 2,000 volumes (some very rare), and large photograph and document collections. The two structures were connected in 1978 by a broad hallway constructed with funds donated by Henry J. N. Taub of Houston. This hallway contains a valuable art collection and nine major displays of artifacts relating to Texas Ranger history. They illustrate such themes as buffalo hunting, Plains Indians, the Mexican frontier, flint artifacts, Wells Fargo, and the evolution of Winchester repeating rifles.
In 1982 the John Knox Texas Ranger Memorial Center was built with funds donated by the Knox family of Giddings. In this large meeting hall are held several major annual events, including the Retired Texas Ranger Reunion, the Fort Fisher Art Show and Sale, and several Texas Ranger functions. Another museum room was built in 1983 with funds donated by Ida Morris of Waco. It contains eight major displays, including wild west shows, artifacts of Emperor Maximilian, Colt cylinder rifles, and dueling and firearms oddities. The Joe Troy Brownfield room was built in 1985 by Joe Brownfield of Waco as a memorial to his son. In it are displays of Sam Houston, the Republic of Texas, Plains Indian costumes and regalia, a collection of cowboy and trail-driver gear, and a collection of rifles and pistols of famous frontier marksmen-William F. Cody, Pawnee Bill, and Capt. E. E. Stubbs. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is supported by the city of Waco. The costs are defrayed by admission fees, proceeds from art shows, and private contributions. A large part of the museum collection has been furnished from the private collection of the curator, Gaines de Graffenried of Waco.