The Witte Museum – San Antonio

If you are interested in learning about South Texas’, culture, and natural science you will want to visit the museum when you are in the San Antonio area.  There are permanent exhibits that include dinosaur skeletons, cave drawings, wildlife dioramas, and even some live animals.

In the area, there are a number of historic homes that have been reconstructed.  It also features the H-E-B Science Treehouse.

The collections on display at the Museum began when Botanist Ellen Quillin founded the Museum with the natural history collection of H.P. Attwater.  The collection focused on the flora and fauna of Texas. Then Ellen Quillin hired a taxidermist to do mounts of animals, birds, and reptiles of Texas.  The display cases were built by local high school students.

Texas Wild exhibit dinosaurs

The Reptile Garden opened during the Depression as both a place for people to come and see but as a scientific research facility to study the development of anti-venom.

The Natural History Hall opened in the 1950′s.  Many of the backgrounds for the Hall were painted by Gibbs Milliken.  Today he is a well-known Texas artist.

Texas Wild exhibit

The Texas Wild exhibit opened in the mid-1980′s with live animals.  The collection is now rather dormant but is being refurbished at the present time.

  • Witte Piece.jpgBotanical (herbarium)
  • Zoological – skins, taxidermy mounts, study collection of bird skins & eggs, skeletal material such as bison, and fish specimen.
  • Herpetological – 700 wet specimens currently on loan to Texas A&M for research.
  • Paleontology – dinosaur and mammoth bones
  • Butterflies – Walter & Lenora Brown Collection
  • Shells – fresh water and marine, worldwide
  • Gems & Minerals – Barron Collection and McFarlin gems
  • Live Animals – on display in Texas Alive, includes prairie dogs, reptiles, mice, fish, tortoises, invertebrates.

Textile Collection

The Textile Collection has over 10,000 items of clothing, quilts, needlework items, household textiles, religious textiles, military uniforms, foreign costumes and textiles.  There are also Fiesta gowns, and accessories (hats, shoes, jewelry, and more.)  These items are on display to show the artistic ability of tailors, dressmakers, and weavers.  They also tell the story of social, political and economic changes that have occurred over the years.

Military History Collection

There are approximately 500 items in the Military History Collection.  They consist of uniforms and military gear, as well as artifacts related to military service.  These include medals, awards, and souvenirs from all major branches of the US Military.  There are also uniforms and artifacts from military academies, non-US military, and militias.

  • Uniforms:
    • United States Armed Forces – This includes uniforms for both men and women in the United States Army, and Navy during the Spanish American War, World War I & II, Korean War, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, as well as peacetime service.
    • Military Academies – Peacock Military College, United States Military Academy at West Point, United States Naval Academy
    • Militia and Paramilitary Groups – Belknap Rifles, Maverick Rifles, Texas National Guard
    • Confederate Army
    • Foreign Military – Mexico, Great Britain, Germany
    • Red Cross
  • Artifacts:
    • Medals – Texas Revolution, Mexican War, Civil War, World War I & II, and Korean War
    • Insignia – Patches, ribbons, bars, badges, epaulets, banners, buttons, dog tags, etc., that designated rank or membership in a group..
    • Sashes – Sam Houston’s sash from the Texas Revolution
    • Equipment – Helmets, gas masks, goggles, canteens, spurs, saddles, first aid kits, mess kits, bugles, medical equipment, etc.
    • Souvenirs and commemorative items – Shrapnel, items made by prisoners of war, diaries, plaques, etc.

Arms & Armor Collection

The Arms and Armor Collection has approximately 600 items in it.  There are projectile weapons, edged weapons, and armor. The majority of the collection is handguns and long guns followed closely by edged weapons. The edged weapons can be sorted by their function: military, tribal, ceremonial, rank/status, and utilitarian.

  • Projectile Weapons
    • Handguns
    • Single-shot
    • Revolvers
    • Semi-automatic
  • Long guns
    • Rifles
    • Shotguns
    • Muskets
  • Machine gun
  • Cannons
  • Bows and arrows
  • Spears
  • Shells/Missiles
  • Edged Weapons
    • Swords
    • Knives
    • Daggers
    • Pikes
    • Machetes
      • Bayonets
      • Axe heads
      • Etc.
  • Armor
    • Suit of armor
    • Chain mail
    • Helmets
    • Gauntlets
    • Etc.

The Museum also includes a wide selection of household items from early life in Texas and the United States.

  • • Home Furnishings
    • Furniture
    • Pottery
    • Decorative arts
    • Kitchenware
    • Glassware
    • Lamps
  • Recreational Items
    • Festivals, fairs & expositions
    • Toys and dolls
    • Sports equipment
    • Musical instruments
    • Phonographs, victrolas, etc.
    • Circuses
    • Entertainment
  • Commercial Products
    • Food tins and other commercial packaging
  • Tools and Equipment
    • Tools & equipment for farms & ranches (spurs, branding irons, plows, scythes, bridles, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for business (cash registers, Dictaphones, computers, viewing and recording devices, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for woodworking (planes, awls, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for metalworking (anvils, tongs, hammers, etc.)
    • Scientific tools & equipment (medical, veterinary, surveying instruments, clocks, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for education (slates, school books, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for textiles (looms, sewing machines, knitting needles, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for religion or spirituality (host makers, menorah, etc.)
    • Tools & equipment for transportation (carriages, cars, paving blocks, etc.)
  • Architecture
    • Buildings
    • Architectural elements


Another area of interest will be the Anthropology area.  This area showcases Anthropology is the study of humans both past and present. Its major subfields are archaeology, physical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology. The Anthropology Collection of the Witte Museum is primarily made up of items representing American Indians with emphasis on the peoples of what is now known as Texas, the Plains, and the Southwestern United States. The Collection includes material from North, Central, and South America; the islands of the Pacific; Asia; and Africa. Among the items from the Pacific, the Filipino tribal items comprise one of the largest collection holdings.

Art Exhibit

The Art Exhibit will take you on a journey of the history of San Antonio and Texas.  It shows the changing times and scenes of the area.

Archival area

The Archival area will fascinate you as you do research on the past.  There are documents, newspaper clippings, auction notices, and any other information that would benefit those coming to the Museum.

What You Need to Know


  • Adults (ages 12-64) – $8.00
  • Seniors (ages 65 and up) – $7.00
  • Children (ages 4-11) – $6.00
  • Ages 3 and younger – FREE
  • *An additional surcharge may apply to special exhibits

Operating Hours

The Witte Museum is open year-round except for the third Monday in October, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

  • Monday – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday – 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday-Saturday – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sunday – Noon – 5 p.m.

Location: 3801 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78209 (in beautiful Brackenridge Park, just north of downtown on Broadway.)

Phone: (210) 357-1900


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