Priceless Artifacts
and Historical Documents

The Alamo exhibit of stunning historical artifacts.

The Alamo is best known for the epic battle that took place in 1836. However, the Spanish mission has played an important role for more than 300 years. Situated near the headwaters of the San Antonio River, the location naturally attracted wildlife and humans. The Spanish, hoping to solidify their claim to Texas, established a foothold here by 1731 consisting of presidio or fort, civil town, and five missions. The Alamo, originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, was the first to be founded in 1718. These early Spanish developments formed the base of what would become San Antonio.

Although it began as a mission, the Alamo evolved into a frontier military outpost for Spain, Mexico, Texas, and the United States. Even Confederate troops occupied the site during the Civil War. This defensive role explains why several important battles occurred here. Whoever controlled the Alamo controlled San Antonio, whoever controlled San Antonio controlled Texas, and whoever controlled Texas controlled events beyond its border. For these reasons the Alamo's history is a "story bigger than Texas."

"The Alamo: A Story Bigger Than Texas" exhibit showcases the 300 year history of the site through highlights from the Alamo and Phil Collins Texana Collections. These are unique artifacts that you won't see anywhere else. Entry to the Alamo Exhibit is limited to visitors who purchase an audio tour.

Exhibit Highlights: Travis's Ring

Gold ring with "cat's eye" banded agate.
Credit: The Alamo Collection

This heavy-hammered gold ring once belonged to Alamo commander William B. Travis. In its center, a semiprecious "cat's eye" banded agate is set. Travis is said to have given this ring to toddler Angelina Dickinson in the last hours of the battle.

It was donated in 1955 by Douglass McGregor.

Exhibit Highlights: Kentucky Rifle

Kentucky rifle from the Darwin family
Credit: The Alamo Collection

Also on display is a Kentucky rifle thought to have belonged to Davy Crockett, who is said to have traded it a man called Andy Thomas on his way to Texas in 1836. Originally it was a flintlock rifle but has been converted to a percussion mechanism.

It was donated by the Darwin Family, descendants of Andy Thomas.

Exhibit Highlights: Gold Snuff Box Presented to Sam Houston by Santa Anna

Gold Snuff Box Presented to Sam Houston by Santa Anna
Credit: The Alamo Collection

This gold snuff box was presented to General Sam Houston by General Santa Anna, following the Battle of San Jacinto. 

Inscribed on inner lid are the words: "We, the children of Sam Houston, wish to present to you, our kinsman (Henry H. Houston) as a slight token of our esteem, the accompanying gold snuff box, which was once the property of our father and greatly prized by him. It was presented to him by Santa Anna, the Mexican Pres. & Cmmdr., after his defeat by the Texan Army at San Jacinto, as a token of gratitude, we suppose, for our father's intercession in his behalf, when his life was threatened by Texan soldiers & civil officers. I am, my dear sir, with sincere regard, Maggie Houston Williams Independence, Texas May 25, 1885".