History exhibitions at The Grace Museum are dedicated to exhibitions that tell the story of the evolving cultural and social history of Abilene and West Texas. The history galleries present changing exhibitions of artifacts curated from both The Grace Museum’s history collection and historically significant objects on temporary loan. In addition, permanent period rooms from 1910, 1928, and 1948 bring the bygone eras to life through recreated parlors, living rooms, and kitchens from each time period.

Now On View

Abilene in the 1920s

Abilene in the 1920s

September 12July 3, 2024
When one thinks of the 1920s, images of flappers, jazz, and speakeasies immediately come to mind. While that is relatively true, for Abilene, the 1920s was an era of major change and growth, just like it was throughout the United States. The population of Abilene nearly doubled throughout the decade with the increase in businesses, buildings, railway usage, and updated History
Immigrant Heritage Month - Cultural Heritage Exhibition 2024

Immigrant Heritage Month – Cultural Heritage Exhibition 2024

June 1June 29, 2024
Immigrant Heritage Month honors immigrants and their positive impact on communities across the country, including those who have greatly contributed to the success of Abilene. This exhibition recognizes two such individuals who have demonstrated strong dedication to our community through their volunteer efforts on several local nonprofit boards and committees, especially here at The Grace Museum.  The Grace Museum is History

Upcoming Exhibitions

Independence Day - Cultural Heritage Exhibition 2024

Independence Day – Cultural Heritage Exhibition 2024

Jul 2 Jul 31
Hardin-Simmons University Six White Horses, Photograph Courtesy of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau Independence Day in the United States is celebrated every July 4th to commemorate the Declaration of Independence in 1776 with fireworks, parades, and parties. Throughout Abilene’s…
Full Steam Ahead: The Texas & Pacific Railway

Full Steam Ahead: The Texas & Pacific Railway

Jul 13 Jul 5
The Texas & Pacific Railway Company (T&P Railway) began plans to build a railroad line from Shreveport, Louisiana all the way to San Diego, California, creating a southern route that would help with winter climate complications. The T&P Railway began…
Early Downtown Abilene: 1880s-1910s

Early Downtown Abilene: 1880s-1910s

Aug 24 Jul 5
The city of Abilene grew around the Texas & Pacific Railway tracks, especially what we know as downtown, during the 1880s to the 1910s. New hotels, churches, shops, liveries, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, houses, and schools were all built within…
Hispanic Heritage Month - Cultural Heritage Exhibition 2024

Hispanic Heritage Month – Cultural Heritage Exhibition 2024

Sep 3 Oct 31
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures, traditions, and many contributions of those individuals of Latinx and Hispanic ancestry in the United States. The establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month was the first Cultural Heritage Month in the United States. The…

Past Exhibitions

Always On View

The 3rd floor history galleries are dedicated to displaying permanent and temporary exhibitions of historically significant objects that tell the story of the evolving cultural and social history of Abilene and west Texas. The history galleries also strive to present exhibitions of artifacts curated from The Grace Museum’s permanent history collection. On permanent view are period parlor and kitchen rooms that depict life in Abilene in 1910, 1928, and 1948.

Historic Period Rooms

Evidence remained of the life of the homesteader, but Abilene was beginning to urbanize. An electric streetcar system had just begun service. The state-run Epileptic Colony was celebrating its seventh birthday and was the city’s largest employer. Following drought-breaking rains,…

Spark

Spark a history connection in our new exploratory space located on the second floor! See objects on display from our permanent history collection and enjoy learning stations that tell the stories of Abilene, the T&P Railway, and other significant things that shaped our West Texas history.

History of the Building

History Collections

The focus of the history collection is historically significant objects that tell the story of the evolving cultural and social history of late 19th and early 20th century Abilene and West Texas. The history collection is composed of over 12,000 objects including textiles, scrapbooks, yearbooks, vintage photographs, furniture, ephemera, personal correspondence, maps, Hotel Grace archives and an extensive Texas and Pacific Railway archive.
Abilene Fine Arts Museum

Abilene Fine Arts Museum

Hotel Grace

Hotel Grace

Abilene Womens Clubs

Abilene Womens Clubs

Garments and Fashion

Garments and Fashion

Folding Fans

Folding Fans

T&P Collection

T&P Collection

Household Tools

Household Tools

Historic Photographs

Historic Photographs

SEARCH THE COLLECTION ON THE PORTAL TO TEXAS HISTORY

The West Texas Digital Archives was a collaborative project spearheaded by the Abilene Library Consortium in partnership with 14 libraries, museums, and other institutions around the region to make available over 150,000 unique historical documents, images, and other items to users around the world on the Portal to Texas History.

Searchable Collections:

• Scrapbooks of the Abilene Fine Arts Museum

• Camp Barkeley News 1942-1945

• Texas & Pacific Railway Collection Photographs

• The Crutch newsletters, the Reconditioning and Training Service of the Regional Hospital at Camp Barkeley 1944-1945