You might not know it, but there’s a U.S. Border Patrol Museum located in Texas? It is housed at the center of much current discussion and activity related to border policy, El Paso.
Alex Freeman is the executive director of the Texas Association of Museums. He says the Border Patrol museum is the only museum of its kind in the United States.
“From my understanding, this recaptures the history of the Border Patrol as an organization. It started in the United States in 1924; the first outpost was in El Paso so that’s why it’s an important area,” Freeman says.
He describes the highlights of his trip to the museum.
“The first thing I noticed is a series of flags. They represent the [Border Patrol] academy. . . so very colorful, catches the eye as you walk in,” Freeman says.
The museum features different vehicles that were used throughout the Border Patrol’s history.
“I see ATVs, I see some kind of Jeep, very nice outfitted speed cars, and even some older vehicles from probably the 30s or 40s. . . a helicopter in the space. . . I see a very small place, looks like a Cessna plane, and even a Ski-Doo snowmobile. I imagine the snowmobile is from the Canada border patrol. . . so kind of a nod that we share two different borders.”
David Ham, president of the museum, showed Freeman his favorite piece; a photo album of black and white images that documents the early days of the Border Patrol in the 1920s. The album includes scenes of gun fights that resulted in the deaths of officers or smugglers. Some photographs feature portraits of individuals that were part of Border Patrol.
“My role is to advocate for museums in Texas and to share them with people so that they know they’re out there,” Freeman says.
Written by Brooke Reaves