Frontier Texas!

Frontier Texas! is a world class interactive museum and visitor center located in downtown Abilene, Texas. Legends, History, Adventure!

Located in historic downtown Abilene, Frontier Texas! is a western heritage center that allows visitors to relive the Old West through the magic of state-of-the-art technology. Frontier Texas! brings the frontier to life and lets visitors meet people who played out their lives on the Texas frontier. Frontier Texas! also serves as the official visitor center for Abilene and the Texas Forts Trail Region.

Experience the legendary Texas frontier through innovative exhibits and unique encounters at Frontier Texas! Learn the story of the old west through our 90 minute hands on old west adventure “Blood & Treasure on the Frontier.” Educational Programs at Frontier Texas! are designed to provide a rich educational experience for everyone. The 14,000 square-foot facility isn’t a traditional museum with exhibits displayed in glass cases. At Frontier Texas!, you relive buffalo stampedes, a shootout in the Bee Hive Saloon, a wolf attack and more.

And don’t forget to visit The General Store that carries all your Texas souvenirs including books, t-shirts, jewelry, canned goods, and unique items made by local artisans. Frontier Texas! is the perfect place for families, History buffs, or anyone who just wants to learn a little bit more about the Lone Star state. Legends, History, Adventure.

Have you ever hear of CatSpring Yaupon Tea? Well, neither had we, but it’s tea made in Texas.

Thank you to the 416th Bomb Group WWII Reunion for visiting! Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

And they’re off! The Texas Forts Trail Region 50th Anniversary Caravan is underway. You can find the full schedule here:

Texas Forts Trail Region

We are so excited about the Texas Forts Trail Region 50th Anniversary Caravan!

Come join us on our upcoming caravan! You don't have to drive the whole route but can tag long for 20 or all 650 miles. Maybe you just want to meet up with us along the way.See ya on the trail!

Visit Abilene, Texas

Proud to be apart of Abilene, Texas!

Happy endings happen here. #StorybookCapital #BookLovers #AbileneProud #Arts

Photograph of a caboose labeled Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway with conductor wearing a dark hat and vest standing in the doorway to the right.Circa 1909 Taylor County.

Belt Sander Races 2018

The Daytripper

Frontier Texas! in Visit Abilene, Texas is more than just a historical museum. It tells the incredible stories of the real folks that lived on the rugged Texas frontier.

Frontier Texas!

We heard someone say "I didn't think it ever flooded this much in Texas, it must be new." So we made this short video for perspective. Historic photos via UNT's Portal to Texas History:

Learn more about Sam Houston here:

Elizabeth Carter Clifton has been brought back to life and tells you her story at Frontier Texas. Stop by and listen to her story about her life on the Texas Frontier.

Redeemed Indian Captive Elizabeth Ann Carter Clifton Begins Trip Home

On 27 August 1866, Elizabeth Ann Carter Clifton finally began her six-week trip home after being a captive of Plains Indians for two years. Her capture in the Elm Creek Raid in Young County was just one of a series of tragedies she endured during her life. Born in 1825 and married at age sixteen, Elizabeth and her first husband, Alexander Joseph Carter, a free black, started a ranch near Fort Belknap in Young County. Carter was murdered in 1857, and Elizabeth was married twice more in the next five years. Her second husband disappeared, and her third was also murdered. Nevertheless, she successfully managed the Young County ranch and operated a boarding house. During the Indian raid and subsequent captivity, Elizabeth also lost her daughter, son, and two grandchildren. She was finally rescued in November 1865, but had to wait many more months at the Kaw Mission at Council Grove, Kansas, as she cared for other released captives and fought to make arrangements for transportation home. Eventually she was reunited with her surviving granddaughter, who had also been a Comanche captive.

Texas State Historical Association Handbook of Texas Online articles on:

Elizabeth Ann Carter Clifton –

The Elm Creek Raid –

Fort Belknap –

Indian Captives –

Value of History: To Our Future
Engaged Citizens:
History helps people envision a better future. Democracy thrives when individuals convene to express opinions, listen to others, and take action. Weaving history into discussions about contemporary issues clarifies differing perspectives and misperceptions, reveals complexities, grounds competing views in evidence, and introduces new ideas; all can lead to greater understanding and viable community solutions.
History inspires leaders. History provides today’s leaders with role models as they navigate through the complexities of modern life. The stories of persons from the past can offer direction to contemporary leaders and help clarify their values and ideals.
History, saved and preserved, is the foundation for future generations. Historical knowledge is crucial to protecting democracy. By preserving authentic and meaningful documents, artifacts, images, stories, and places, future generations have a foundation on which to build and know what it means to be a member of the civic community.

The Value of History: To Our Communities
Vibrant Communities:
History is the foundation for strong, vibrant communities. A place becomes a community when wrapped in human memory as told through family stories, tribal traditions, and civic commemorations as well as discussions about our roles and responsibilities to each other and the places we call home.
Economic Development:
History is a catalyst for economic growth. Communities with cultural heritage institutions and a strong sense of historical character attract talent, increase tourism revenues, enhance business development, and fortify local economies.

The Value of History: To Ourselves
History nurtures personal and collective identity in a diverse world. People discoverer their place in time through stories of their families, communities, and nation. These stories of freedom and equality, injustice and struggle, loss and achievement, and courage and triumph shape people’s personal values that guide them through life.
Critical Thinking:
History teaches vital skills. Historical thinking requires critical approaches to evidence and argument and develops contextual understanding and historical perspective, encouraging meaningful engagement with concepts like continuity, change, and causation, and the ability to interpret and communicate complex ideas clearly and coherently.

Yesterday, our volunteers got to tour the Dyess Memorial Center led by one of our volunteers.

The Social Museum: Frontier Texas was built to increase the quality of life for the community. Within that, two goals make up the mission: (1) to help develop the economy through travel and tourism, and (2) to educate the citizenry about our unique cultural heritage. As an organization, we continue to ask ourselves, “Are we meeting the needs of this community?” We can see can see the tangible results of attracting tourists who bring money into our economy and students learning about their heritage, and yet we feel there’s more that we can accomplish.
The museum is actively involved in two regional historic preservation organizations that expand the organization’s social reach beyond the city’s borders. The museum hosts the monthly meetings of the Taylor County Historical Commission where the members discuss how to promote and preserve the county’s history. The museum also hosts several meetings and events each year for the Texas Forts Trail heritage association. These groups are great examples of how the work of historic preservation can
be a rewarding social activity for those involved.
See our annual report:

Frontier Texas Facility Rentals

Did you know Frontier Texas offers facility rentals? The lobby and a small meeting room are available inside and over 75,000 square feet is available outside (most fenced, some covered). From seated dinners to receptions, fundraisers and more! For more information, visit to get more details for your next event at Frontier Texas!

Who was Mackenzie? Ranald Slidell Mackenzie was born on July 27, 1840, in New York City to a prominent military/political family. He graduated from West Point on June 17, 1862, top of his class, during the Civil War and was commissioned into the Union Army as 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to the Army of the Potomac. At the siege of Petersburg a shell fragment tore off two fingers on his right hand. He would eventually become labeled by Indians as “Bad Hand” due to that injury.
Within his three years in the Civil War had fought in 12 key battles and was wounded 6 times. He was eventually elevated to the rank of Brevet Major General and commanded forces as part of the national campaign against Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, on April 9, 1865. Ulysses S. Grant wrote in his memoir, “I regarded Mackenzie as the most promising young officer in the army. Graduating at West Point, as he did, during the second year of the war, he had won his way up to the command of a corps before its close. This he did upon his own merit and without influence.” After the war ended his rank was reduced, as was customary, to Captain in the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1867 Mackenzie was appointed Colonel of the 41st Infantry, a newly formed black “Buffalo Soldier” regiment, reorganized two years later as part of the 24th United States Infantry. Under his command, this regiment was awarded the status of a “superior unit.” Mackenzie held commands at Fort Brown (now Brownsville), Fort Clark (near present-day Del Rio), and Fort McKavett (near present-day Menard). On February 25, 1871, he assumed command of the 4th Cavalry at Fort Concho (San Angelo) then transferred to Fort Richardson (near present-day Jacksboro), traveling through Fort Phantom Hill.
In his official military report on moving the 4th Cavalry to Fort Richardson Mackenzie stated, “We camped at old Fort Chadbourne and again at the ruins of old Fort Phantom Hill where the only thing that remained were the chimneys, standing alone in silent desolation, commemorative of time’s decay.”
In the fall of 1871 with his forces now stationed near the Red River skirmishes with the Comanche increased. One of his few military defeats was an expedition into the panhandle in September-November, where in a battle at Blanco Canyon he was wounded for the seventh time. His troops eventually retreated back to Fort Griffin.
In spring 1873 he was assigned back down to Fort Clark to stop Indian raids from Mexico where he led an unauthorized raid that burned three Indian villages near Remolino, Mexico. That raid and effective border patrols stopped the raiding into Texas. He was sent back to the panhandle region where in September 1874 his troops destroyed five Indian villages in Palo Duro Canyon and on November 5th near Tahoka Lake won a minor engagement, his last against the Comanche. Mackenzie ordered the slaughter of 1,400 Indians horses after the battle and destroyed the Indians’ resistance.
In March 1875 Mackenzie assumed command at Fort Sill and control over the Comanche-Kiowa and Cheyenne-Arapaho reservations. On June 2nd Quanah Parker arrived at Fort Sill to surrender with 407 followers and 1,500 horses. The Red River War was over.
After Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s annihilation at Little Bighorn (Montana territory) in June 1876, Mackenzie was placed in command Camp Robinson, Nebraska. In October he forced Sioux Chief Red Cloud to return his band to their reservation. In November 1876 Mackenzie and his 4th Cavalry decisively defeated the Northern Cheyenne in The Battle of Red Fork.
March 1878 Mackenzie was again at Fort Clark to stop Mexican raids into Texas. Diplomatic attempts to get the government of Mexico to assist in stopping the raid had failed so Mackenzie began patrols into Mexico prompting the Mexican government to act, and by October the raiding had ceased. In October 1879 he was sent to Colorado to prevent an uprising of the Utes where the chiefs refused to leave until Mackenzie informed them that the only alternative was war. Two days later, the Utes started for Utah. In 1881 he was sent to Arizona and New Mexico to subdue the Apaches and Navajos. Within a year the army was in control.
Mackenzie was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, but was seriously ill. On October 27, 1883, he was reassigned to command the Department of Texas. He planned to marry and retire soon on land that he had bought near Boerne, but by December he was suffering “paralysis of the insane.” A few days later he was escorted to New York City and placed in the Bloomingdale Asylum. On March 24, 1884, he was retired from the Army due to his mental illness. In June he was taken to his boyhood home in Morristown, NY to live with his sister. In 1886 he was moved to New Brighton, Staten Island, where he died on January 19, 1889. He was buried in the military cemetery at West Point.

Making a Hologram: In 2016 the Frontier Texas board of directors created a new 2016-2024 strategic plan for the museum. The plan identified that new exhibit content should be added at least every two years and adding a new spirit guide was the first goal. The choice was easy for two reasons. The first was the location of the existing characters. The exhibit set visitors first encounter has Satanta and Esihabitu. The second set has Cynthia Ann Parker and J. Wright Mooar. The third set only had Captain R.B. Marcy and needed another military character. In each of the sets with two characters, the perspectives of each were somewhat of a contrast to the other. Captain Marcy mostly tells of trying to work with the Indians in diplomatic terms and shows a level of compassion for their hardships and those of his troops. To show a contrasting military perspective it was a clear choice to select Colonel Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, the victor of the Red River War.
One goal in bringing Mackenzie to life as a hologram was to do the writing and video production in-house by the museum staff. The after sorting through numerous sources the primary source for script became the book Bad Hand by Charles Robinson. The decision was made to have Mackenzie answer six questions in the same way that Captain Marcy did in that same exhibit set. Help in casting an actor for the part came from Brandon Scott Thomas and Pink Goose Media. Travis Eason was selected for the portrayal and filming was done in the studios of Pink Goose Media in south Abilene. The new spirit guide opened to the public just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday in 2017.
See our annual report:

We love our volunteers. We couldn’t do our school tours or events without them!
Want to learn more about Frontier Texas? Visit us online:
See our annual report:

Frontier Texas is a "must visit" field trip for schools in Texas. Learn more about scheduling school tours here:

Welcome American Heritage Girls Tx0641 Abilene, TX! Thank you for coming to visit.

Frontier Texas attracts tourists to Abilene and builds our local economy. Want to learn more about Frontier Texas? Visit us online:
See annual report:

People visit Frontier Texas from all over the world!
Want to learn more about Frontier Texas? Visit us online:
See annual report:

Frontier Texas is an interactive museum that features stories told through interactive holograms that tell the story of the Texas frontier. Want to learn more about Frontier Texas? Visit us online:

Happy Friday!

Texas Forts Trail Region

Have you been to the Oplin Dance Hall? Only 30 minutes from Abilene!

Looking for something to do around the Forts Trail this Friday night? Head over to a West Texas favorite and dance the night away! Read our blog about the Oplin Dance Hall below! #dancehalls #fortstrail #oplintx

Post your favorite vacation photos from this summer.
📷: Rebecca Ressler

Frontier Texas!

Who's ready for a cold front?

If you think it's HOT today...

When it gets too hot out, come to see the frontier in air conditioning. Open Monday- Saturday 9-6pm & Sunday 1-5pm.

KHOU 11 News

What say you!?

Alana M.'s review of Frontier Texas

AlanaM, Thanks for the great Yelp review! We are so glad you enjoyed our museum. Happy trails! Who'd've thunk you'd find a museum of this caliber in Abilene, TX - but boy oh boy Frontier Texas is it! I loved the holograms - felt like I was...

Troopers leaving Fort Mason, Texas. Painting by Melvin Warren.

Happy Independence Day! Frontier Texas will be open from 9-4pm. Bring the family and escape the heat!

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Videos (show all)

Frontier Texas Facility Rentals
New Spirit Guide at Frontier Texas!
Texas Living History Association 2018 Invitation
2017 Belt Sander Races
History Alive! 2017




625 N 1st St
Abilene, TX

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 09:00 - 18:00
Friday 09:00 - 18:00
Saturday 09:00 - 18:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00
Other Tourist Information Centers in Abilene (show all)
Texas Forts Trail Region Texas Forts Trail Region
3702 Loop 322
Abilene, 79602

We share the real stories of what was once the Texas frontier and offer tips on the fun things to see and do today in Central West Texas.

Visit Abilene, Texas Visit Abilene, Texas
1101 North First
Abilene, 79601

The official page of the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau! Abilene, the defining city of West Texas.