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Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas

Updated on February 12, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Old wagon on display at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston
Old wagon on display at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston | Source

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

Before ever entering the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas, admirers of architecture would undoubtedly like the outward appearance of this impressive building. There are two medallions attached to this edifice. The one by the entrance door nearest the parking lot reads as follows:

"Houston Light Guard Armory

Designed by noted Houston architect Alfred C. Finn, the armory was constructed in 1925 to replace an 1892 building that had become obsolete.

Finn detailed the building to suggest a late Renaissance Period Neo-Gothic English Masonry, represented by the alternating bands of brick and stone and elaborate relief panels above the arched entrance. The building has been owned by the Houston Light Guard, The State of Texas, and the Houston Community College.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1992"

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston partial front viewBuffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston front viewBuffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston parking lot view
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston partial front view
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston partial front view | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston front view
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston front view | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston parking lot view
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston parking lot view | Source

Historical Medallion Information

There is even more information on the Texas Historical Commission Official Historical Medallion on the front of the building. The information on that medallion (for those who may never get the chance to read it) is the following:

"Texas Historical Commission

The Houston Light Guard

Organized as a Texas Militia Unit on April 27, 1873, the Houston Light Guard originally participated in parades, ceremonies, and competitive drills and served as guard of honor for visiting dignitaries. The first commander was Capt. Edwin Fairfax Gray (1829-1884). Then the city engineer of Houston. During the 1880s the Guard, dressed in uniforms of red coats and red-plumed helmets, became known as a leader in drill competitions throughout the United States. Prize money funded their first armory in 1891.

In 1898 the guard was activated for service with United States troops in the Spanish - American War. After participating in the punitive expedition against Mexico, 1916-1917, the unit joined U.S. forces fighting in Europe during World War I.

The Guard built a new armory at this site in 1925 and deeded it to the State of Texas in 1939. The next year the unit was again activated and during WWII saw action in seven campaigns in Africa and Europe. As part of the 36th Infantry Division, Guard members were among the first American troops in Europe during the war. Now part of the National Guard, the Houston Light Guard represents a proud heritage of distinguished military service.

(1982)"

Buffalo head in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo head in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source

History

Thus before ever entering this museum, one has a sense of how long a time our African American soldiers have been engaged in wars fighting on the side of the U.S.

During a significant portion of this time, they did not have equal rights. That did not deter them! The “Buffalo Soldier” nickname applied to them came from their fierce fighting spirit.

The Cheyenne Indians had great respect for buffalo, which used to roam the plains freely and in vast herds. If ever backed into a corner, the buffalo never ceased fighting until its dying breath. When in combat, the first black American soldiers showed this same type of courage. Thus the “Buffalo Soldier” nickname stuck and became applied to all African American soldiers from the 1800s through WWII.

It was in 1866 through an act of congress that the very first all African American military units were created. In the beginning, they were sent to isolated locations such as Fort Davis in West Texas.

Art in The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

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Buffalo Soldiers National Museum Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumBuffalo Soldiers National MuseumBuffalo Soldiers National MuseumBuffalo Soldiers National MuseumPoster in the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumWall hanging in the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumBuffalo Soldiers National MuseumBuffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Poster in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Poster in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Wall hanging in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Wall hanging in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source

Civil War and Beyond

Around 185,000 of these black soldiers served in the Union Army during the Civil War, helping to free some of their people from slavery.

In the beginning, until they had more than proven their courage and bravery in battle, they were assigned menial jobs. They faced discrimination just as existed in the general population.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Carved buffalo sculptureOld saddles in the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumFloor tile in entrance Front entrance display
Carved buffalo sculpture
Carved buffalo sculpture | Source
Old saddles in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Old saddles in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Floor tile in entrance
Floor tile in entrance | Source
Front entrance display
Front entrance display | Source

Photography in The Museum

Pictures are allowed to be taken at the entry-level but not past double doors. So all of the photos shown here were in sanctioned areas for photography.

There is a theater within this Buffalo Soldiers Museum at a lower level. The film is shown continuously, and it is well worth the time to spend watching it. Display cases showing memorabilia are also in that room. The seating is comfortable.

Many of the items beyond those double doors are displayed in three rooms, all connected to a hallway. On the walls of the hall, hangs much artwork. Taking the time to read about the art as well as photographs on display can be very educational.

In the three rooms are many more display cases. Some items are out in the open and not behind glass. Old cannon balls to various types of guns are there. Also on display in one of the rooms are vintage items such as crocks, old metal irons, and more household items of the past.

Uniforms and helmets are on view as well as photographs of the modern-day buffalo soldiers, our astronauts. Thirteen photos of them are prominently displayed!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Display case in the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumAirman Allison Parker Uniform 1985 at Buffalo Soldier National MuseumFlags on display Poster in the museumPoster in the museumPiece of art in the museum
Display case in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Display case in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Airman Allison Parker Uniform 1985 at Buffalo Soldier National Museum
Airman Allison Parker Uniform 1985 at Buffalo Soldier National Museum | Source
Flags on display
Flags on display | Source
Poster in the museum
Poster in the museum | Source
Poster in the museum
Poster in the museum | Source
Piece of art in the museum
Piece of art in the museum | Source

Education Goal

The goal of the Buffalo Soldiers Museum is to educate the youth of today. Education as to the history of the significant contributions men and women of color have contributed to protecting the United States of America is also vital.

Proportionately very few members of our population serve in the military today. We must honor those who have sacrificed themselves to defend our nation and those who still elect to do so today.

Many of the spaces within this non-profit institution can be rented for various occasions such as banquets and galas, meetings and seminars, weddings, and other uses. Areas ranging from 825 square feet up to 3,500 square feet are available. Arrangements can be made to view the spaces and plan a special event by calling 713-942-8920.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beautifully carved wooden bust in Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumBronze bust named “The Old Soldier” Closeup of “The Old Soldier”
Beautifully carved wooden bust in Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Beautifully carved wooden bust in Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Bronze bust named “The Old Soldier”
Bronze bust named “The Old Soldier” | Source
Closeup of “The Old Soldier”
Closeup of “The Old Soldier” | Source

Sculptural Art

There is some beautiful artwork inside of the Buffalo Soldier Museum. Eddie Dixon was the sculptor of the bust called “The Old Soldier” created in 1993. The following information was taken from the framed information at the base of the statue.

"The bronze bust was donated to the museum by William and Elizabeth Hayden, founders of the Museum of American Art in Paris, Texas. “The Old Soldier” depicts First Sergeant William Moses, a recipient of the Medal of Honor in 1881. The bust stands 27 inches tall, is 18 inches wide, and 15 inches in depth."

It is a beauty!

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Buffalo Soldiers National Museum looking towards gift shop T-shirt for sale in gift shopGift shop in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum looking towards gift shop
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum looking towards gift shop | Source
T-shirt for sale in gift shop
T-shirt for sale in gift shop | Source
Gift shop in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Gift shop in the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source

Gift Shop

There is a gift shop within the museum offering all kinds of books, posters, t-shirts, and souvenirs.

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston – 19th Century Bell
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston – 19th Century Bell | Source

19th Century Bell

Outside of the building is a mounted bell. It also has history! The date for the Mallalieu Chapel M.E. Church is November 26, 1899. The founder's names are also listed. Written on a black plaque attached to the bell is the following:

"Mallalieu Methodist Church was founded in 1885 in the first ward of Houston, TX. Members and leadership of the church had a relationship with the African – American soldiers and leadership at U.S. Army Camp Logan. Following the Houston Riots in 1919, and the closing of Camp Logan,the church secured permission to claim and repurpose the wood from the demolished buildings at the army base. The wood was hauled by horse drawn wagons to the site of the church at 1918 Hickory Street. The new church was completed in 1926, using wood from Camp Logan and erecting the original 19th century bell, honoring both those who served at Camp Logan and the original founders."

The expansive Memorial Park in Houston is the current location of what used to be Camp Logan.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wagon in parking lot at the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumDecorated storage container in parking lot
Wagon in parking lot at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Wagon in parking lot at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum | Source
Decorated storage container in parking lot
Decorated storage container in parking lot | Source

Address and Hours

Hopefully, you now have some idea of what there is to see and learn at the Houston Buffalo Soldiers Museum. It is open from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday and 10 to 4 on Saturdays. Admission is free from 1 PM to 5 PM on Thursdays. The address of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is 3816 Caroline Street, Houston, Texas 77004.

Were you aware of the part the Buffalo Soldiers played in U.S. history?

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© 2020 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Manatita,

      You must be referring to one of your live performance speeches? Perhaps you will write it down and post it here as well someday so we can all benefit from your creativity. The Underground Railroad affected so many people...those helping the slaves escape towards freedom...and of course, the fleeing slaves. It was risky for everyone involved, and a part of U.S. history.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 days ago from london

      Great! It's developing all the time. It's a commissioned piece to perform on the 29th. With another called 'The Family.' I may perform Underground Queen tonight to help with remembering by heart. I'm not so good at that. Thank you so much!!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      2 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Manatita,

      Thanks for commenting on this piece and letting me know that you enjoyed learning about the Buffalo Soldier's history. I will look forward to reading your piece titled My Underground Queen if you posted it on HubPages.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 days ago from london

      Life is connected in so many strange ways! I love Bob Marley's music and that song 'Buffalo Soldier' is so enchanting! Yet I never made the connection. Interesting history to learn.

      I have been given the painting of a black woman to write a poem about. It's called My Underground Queen. Well, I did a descriptive piece, added a touch of romance and regality and thought that I was done.

      Turned out that the picture depicted one of the many courageous woman slaves who went through underground secret railways, ferrying slaves to safety. Life is so colourful and interesting!

      This bell art is exquisite on the eyes. Thank you for such great info!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 days ago

      You have a point.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      Travelers to different places, if they appreciate history, are likely to see what types of museums are in the area. I am sure that the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum has experienced visitors from near and far.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 days ago

      This is one of the advantages of HubPages. It tells about places that aren't in the usual travelogues. Maybe some people who live in the Houston area will read your articles and gives these places a look.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It is fun showing off the many attractions in our city. I am glad you enjoyed your virtual tour of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 days ago

      Thank you for the tour of this museum and the history lesson.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Linda,

      Your articles are always filled with good information and educate me about many subjects of which I did not previously know. So I am pleased that my article about the Buffalo Soldiers did the same for you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting and informative article, Peggy. I've never heard of the Buffalo Soldiers before. I think a museum in their name is an excellent idea. I appreciate the education that I've received by reading your article.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello MG Singh,

      You are well informed. I am pleased that you liked my photographs taken at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      6 days ago from Singapore

      You have written a captivating article about the museum and the state of the African American soldiers. I have been aware of this as I had occasion to train with the USAF. Wonderful photographs.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      If you wish to learn more about the Houston metro area...stay tuned! I have lots more to share. Glad you liked this one.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      There is much more to view in the areas where photography is prohibited. The Buffalo Soldiers Museum is a gem!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      6 days ago from UK

      This is a detailed and well-illustrated article, in spite of the restrictions on photography. You are putting together a great collection of articles about Houston.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 days ago from USA

      This is a great place to visit. You did a terrific job of presenting the information even with the photo restriction you had to contend with. I like the wagon on the outside of the building. Not sure how they keep kids from climbing on or in it.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      You must have had Houston parks on your mind when you commented on this museum. There are parks not too far away from it! (Smile)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is so interesting a place to visit. We are fortunate to have it here in Houston.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 days ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm beginning to think Houston is just one huge park. lol Bravo to the city fathers for understanding the importance of parks and history and gathering places.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 days ago from Sunny Florida

      This looks like such an interesting place to visit and I really love the idea of educating our youth. The pictures, statues and even the architecture is great. I am sure you enjoyed this educational visit.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Umesh Chandra Bhatt,

      Thanks for your comment on this post. I am pleased that you found it to be informative.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      6 days ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      This is an informative article. Well presented.

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