“Texas’ Last Frontier”

Local museum dedicated to history of Cochran County


Cheyenne Barnes

School exhibit at Cochran County Museum

Cheyenne Barnes, Tribe reporter

Preserving the history of Morton and Cochran County is a passion for The Cochran County Historical Commission and their Chairperson Mary McKnight.

“I love history and many people do not realize what a rich and colorful history we have here in Morton and Cochran County,” McKnight said.  “It is so important to record and preserve that history as the older generations pass away.”

The museum is dedicated solely to the history of Morton and Cochran County.  Displays include exhibits on early Native Americans all the way through modern times according to McKnight.

“We have the story on the gun fight between a group of automobile thieves and the then Cochran County Sheriff and deputy, which resulted in the death of the deputy.” McKnight said.  “We have an exhibit dedicated to our local men and women who have proudly served our county. “

McKnight says there is a great deal of information in the museum and they are currently working on four new exhibits they hope to announce in the coming year.

With so many interesting exhibits, what is her personal favorite?

“Photographs.  Many people don’t realize how important photographs are to history,” McKnight said.  “They tell the story of an exact moment in time. They capture the people, the landscape, the buildings, the fashion, and so much more. Photos tell us so much more than an artifact does.”

Despite her partiality to the photographs, she believes that everything in the museum is important and is there for a reason.

Cheyenne Barnes
Display at Cochran County Museum

“Everything in our museum is important to our history,” McKnight said. “It’s one thing to read about an artifact and how it

was used, but actually being able to see the item used is a whole different story.”

But the Museum is not just about exhibits, artifacts and photographs.  The Museum also host a number of events throughout the year in Morton.

“For 2018 we have the Holiday Open House coming in December,” McKnight said. “We are looking at the possibility of a Costume Party for kids in the community in October.”

In October, the Museum plans on announcing a brand new project that McKnight is very excited about.

“We will be announcing in October Hispanic and African American Heritage in Cochran County,” McKnight said. “None of our county’s Hispanic and African American history and family histories have ever been documented, and we are looking forward to getting as many of those recorded as possible.”

What else is on the calendar for 2019?

Cheyenne Barnes
Cochran County Museum

“We have just begun planning for the 2019 Last Frontier Days and are looking forward to hopefully introducing new attractions and bringing back some forgotten ones,” McKnight said.

The Museum is supported by Texas’ Last Frontier Historical Museum membership, which is mostly monetary supporters, who pay an annual fee to help support the various activities and the purchase of supplies. The Cochran County Historical Commission (CCHC) members, which are involved in planning events, budgeting, working with various entities in the community, giving guided tours, putting together exhibits, hosting, fundraising, operation of the museum, along with other various duties.  And the Cochran County Junior Historians (CCJH) members, which are involved in all of the same activities as CCHC members, but are all school-aged.

To sign up,  anyone interested in joining can do so by attending one of the monthly meetings the first Tuesday of each month, October 2nd, November 6th, and December 4th at 5:15 p.m. at the Texas’ Last Frontier Historical Museum 108 SW 1st Street in Morton (behind the Credit Union). Interested persons can also phone McKnight at (806) 893-6808 or by emailing [email protected]

Museum membership is $20.00 for individuals and $25.00 for couples annually and open to anyone 18 years and older. CCHC membership has no annual membership fees and is open to anyone age 15 years and older. CCJH membership is free and is open to all children residing in Cochran County in 2nd through 12th grades.