Lonesome railroad water stop. Bustling county seat. Military outpost. Ranching country. Movie setting. Art destination. Since its inception in 1883, the little town of Marfa, Texas, situated on the high grassland plain of the northern Chihuahuan Desert, has developed its fascinating, unique character from the cultures, events and people who’ve congregated here. The Marfa and Presidio County Museum tells the history of how this community, and the county at large, is the sum of its diverse and disparate elements, a lively interspersion of Hispanics and Anglos, art and ranching, good times and bad, beauty and isolation.
The museum was established in 1980, thanks to a community dedicated to preserving, contemplating and presenting its past. What has evolved is an authentic glimpse into Marfa and Presidio County, a town and region unlike anywhere else.
History of the Museum
Marfa High School history teacher and local historian Lee Glascock Bennett started the Marfa Chapter of The Junior Historians of Texas in 1962 as an extra-curricular activity for her history students. As the students began to research local people and local history for their required research projects, historical items began to fill up the shelves in the schoolroom. In 1966, local Junior Historian President Eddie Hernandez posed a simple question, “Mrs. Bennett, why doesn’t Marfa have a museum? Why can’t one be started?” And with that, a fourteen year process was put into motion. The students continued to collect historical items, information, and photos while sponsoring fund raisers and awareness campaigns for a much-needed museum to house their ever-growing collection. In 1980, their efforts paid off when the Marfa and Presidio County Museum opened its doors in the historic R. E. L. Tyler home on the corner of North Mesa and West Lincoln. The museum was moved to a more central location in the historic Humphris-Humphreys home in 1996.
“From a youth’s suggestion; with a community’s patient support; with the will of many of all ages to save and share the heritage of Marfa and Presidio County; with the determination of rich and poor to enhance the lives of all generations…the Marfa and Presidio County Museum became a reality.” Lee Bennett