The Heritage Gallery houses a permanent interactive display that teaches about early pioneer and American Indian Life and the beginnings of Parker County. It also houses a rotating exhibit area.
The exhibit shows the lifestyle of the Native Americans who lived across the central and west Texas area. Vignettes tell the history of Texas Native American tribes that populated the area before Spanish exploration five centuries ago. A display of projectile points, including arrowheads and spear points, shows the diverse hunting tools used by the indigenous people of the area. Around the corner, visitors get a view of how the Comanche lived before settlers moved west into Texas. An eye-catching tepee shelters a Comanche man and women, seen going about their daily tasks. Inside the tepee hang a variety of cooking utensils, tools, and other items of use. Plexiglas panels on the front of the exhibit houses a variety of tools, including a buffalo horn ladle, weapons, tools and clothing. Visitors will be able to actually touch beaver and buffalo hides. Special drawers built into the exhibit cases allow docents to pull out artifacts for hands-on demonstrations.
A few feet further is a glimpse into the life led by the pioneers who moved westward into Parker County. Visitors will see a settler building a log cabin in front of a backdrop of trees. Behind him is a covered wagon, filled with the tools, cooking implements, and household items that would be necessary to make a life in the county. Guest will also learn why the settlers moved to Parker County, how the land would have looked when they arrived, and the difficulties of wagon travel.
The cattle trail drives were important to all of Texas. Parker County was home to some of the most famous of the trail drivers, including Oliver Loving, Charles Goodnight, and Bose Ikard. Goodnight is credited with the invention of the chuck wagon, which carried essential food and supplies along the trail. An example of a chuck wagon stands in the exhibit, as well as some of the cooking implements that would have been used on the trail. Nearby stands Rawhide, a beautiful longhorn specimen, illustrating just how magnificent the Texas longhorn can be.
Photo provided by: www.SaltForkImages.com