Artifact Stewardship

The American Alliance of Museums defines Stewardship as the “careful, sound and responsible management of that which is entrusted to a museum’s care.”

The Collections of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum are vital to the mission and success of the museum. The TRHFM and the City of Waco hold these important collections for the people of the State of Texas and assume responsibility for ensuring that the historically significant artifacts and archives are secured in perpetuity for future generations.

Collecting Policies & Activities

The purpose of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is to collect, preserve and interpret the lives, work and activities of the Texas Rangers from their formation in 1823 to the present. Additionally, the Museum collects artifacts and archives related to the allies and adversaries of the Texas Rangers, as well as artifacts and archives related to the American West and culture developed around the Texas Rangers.

Scope of Accepted Artifacts

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Collection includes artifacts and archive/library materials associated with a specific Ranger or Ranger Company. These artifacts include, but are not necessarily limited to, the subcategories listed below:

  • Archives (paper-based and digital collections such as newspaper clippings, documentary photographs, etc.)
  • Weapons/Ammunition
  • Insignia/Badges
  • Field equipment
  • Office equipment
  • Evidence gathering equipment
  • Communication equipment
  • Personal equipment (gun belts, holsters, etc.)
  • Uniforms/Clothing (include hats, boots and protective body armor)
  • Transportation & Transportation related equipment (including saddles, etc.)
  • Other (for equipment items that cannot be placed into any of the above defined categories)
  • Personal items (for personal artifacts owned/associated to a Ranger but not directly related to his/her service; examples might include jewelry, watches and other things of this nature.)

Permanent Collection

The Permanent Collection includes artifacts, archives and related items that are formally accessioned, documented and cataloged into the museum’s collections. Artifacts and archival items are of historic, cultural or artistic significance that represent the inherent goals of the mission of the TRHFM. These collections are used for exhibits and research and include the following sub-categories: Texas Ranger Collection, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Collection, General Weapons Collection, Art Collection, Commemoratives/Replicas Collection, Popular Culture Collection, Archive Collection, Library Collection and Photograph Collection. These items are owned by the TRHFM as a department of the City of Waco and are held for the citizens of the State of Texas. These collections are given the highest level of care and protection.

Education Collection

The Education Collection includes artifacts and other related items that are used for interpretation, participatory exhibition and educational programs. These objects are owned by the TRHFM as a department of the City of Waco. They are NOT formally accessioned, but are cataloged into the database system. These objects are given all reasonable care and are viewed as important to the mission of the Museum. They are assigned to and housed in the Education Department of the Museum for use and are inventoried by the Education Coordinator. In the event of damage or destruction beyond the point of usefulness, they are removed from the collections database system and disposed of appropriately.


Artifacts are subject to deterioration from environmental conditions. For example, an object that is in a damp, humid climate may mold or rust. If artifacts do not receive routine maintenance, they will quickly deteriorate. When the museum accepts an artifact into the museum’s collection, museum personnel have the responsibility to care for it to the best of our ability and maintain both the physical object and its history.

One of the most important steps in collections care is to ensure that an artifact is properly housed and stored. Properly caring for artifacts is an important part of preserving the history and heritage of the Texas Rangers. The Collections Department strives to follow the highest museum standards and utilizes modern preservation and research practices. By preserving and providing routine maintenance for each artifact, the Museum can guarantee that each time visitors walk through our gallery spaces or use the Texas Ranger Research Center, they will find historic objects in the best possible condition.

Caring for and preserving each artifact in the collection is something the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum staff works toward daily. We not only recognize the value of each object but are proud to serve as stewards of the oldest state law enforcement agency in the nation and an enduring symbol of Texas and the American West – the Texas Rangers.