Panhandle Spirit: Window on the Plains

The Window on the Plains Museum in Dumas has been celebrating the Panhandle Spirit for more than 40 years. (ABC7 Amarillo)

For more than 40 years, they’ve been celebrating the history of the Panhandle Spirit in Dumas. One way they keep it alive is through a huge collection of artifacts at the Window on the Plains Museum.

The main room at the entrance features a large display of life in the old west, with a likeness of Marshall Cator, a pioneer rancher in the Panhandle, standing in front of a blacksmith’s shop. The wood for that structure came from a barn that was more than 100 years old.

Museum Director Terry George says she hopes visitors get a better understanding of life during that time.

“It gives me an appreciation for all their hard work. We are not made like they were. Of course, we have newer things and that kind of stuff, but they were tougher people, I believe, than what we are,” George said.

There’s also a section devoted to agriculture and industry, not just in Moore County, but throughout the Panhandle. A section on the evolution of the Shamrock Oil Company for example. And a large barn on the grounds houses a wide variety vehicles, from tractors to Model T’s.

“Our business is to preserve that and to teach the history, to get the younger generation familiar with what the older people lived with and worked with. That’s very important,” said George.

The family life display showcases the development of the appliances we depend on daily. An exhibit devoted to Dumas High School adds a nostalgic touch.

As an added feature, the building also houses the Art Center. Director Marti Christman says there are over 300 pieces in the collection from the Moore County Art Association.

“Most are area artists who either lived here in the past, or live here now. We have a few who are maybe not from this area, but are well-known artists in our collection,” Christman said.

“Sometimes you’ll have people that will come and say, ‘I have ten minutes.’ They’ll stay three hours. And that makes us feel good, when people walk away and say we enjoyed it. We’ll come back. And we have people that come back year after year,” George said.

It’s all free. The museum is open from 10 til 5 Monday through Saturday.

It’s on Highway 287 on the south side of Dumas.

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