If you’ve ever traveled I-30 through Greenville, TX it is likely you drove past the faded sign directing visitors to the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and have never given it much thought. After learning about World War II we took the boys on a field trip to the museum and what a gem it is! We were blown away that such a great museum had been right under our noses for so long.
Born and raised in Hunt County, Texas, Audie Murphy was one of twelve children born to poverty stricken sharecroppers. His family is described as being the poorest of the poor. He showed courage and strength from a young age. In fifth grade Audie dropped out of school in order to help his mother feed and care for his siblings after his father abandoned the family. He worked any job he could get and hunted wild game in order to put food on the table. His mother died when he was sixteen. At the age of seventeen he tried many times to sign up for military duty. He was denied several times until his older sister helped him to falsify his age. The Marines and paratroopers wouldn’t take him because of his small size and he ended up enlisting as an infantry soldier. The Marines would have been proud to call Audie Murphy one of their own as he was WWII’s most decorated soldier and one of WWII’s greatest heroes. He not only earned a Medal of Honor but he was also awarded with every other medal possible, some even twice! After the war he became an actor starring in more than forty movies, including To Hell and Back (affiliate link), a movie based on the book he authored about combat life during the war.
The museum has so many fascinating exhibits. Starting with the Native Americans that lived in the area we then moved on to the local history of Hunt County. We learned how cotton was milled and what life was like in the rural South when Cotton was King. We got a kick out of some letters displayed complaining about how the churches in the early days of Hunt County were conducting worship. You won’t want to miss the hair wreath either. Yes, a decorative wreath made from human hair.
We also enjoyed window shopping for hats and other woman’s fashions down the 1920’s era Main Street exhibit. The exhibit includes five shops that would have been thriving on Main Street during the Roaring Twenties. We stopped at the salon but I decided to forgo getting my hair permed.
Hall Of Heroes
You won’t want to miss the Hall of Heroes featuring real life heroes from Hunt County.
Get a tiny taste of what life was like for WWI soldiers by walking through a trench.
Read their stories. See their weapons.
One of the most moving exhibits is of a soldier reading a letter from home and his wife reading a letter from him. While the letters are fictional they tell the true story of the hardships of war. We listened as the soldier writes of how he misses his family and the comforts of home. He needs more socks because his feet are always wet and cold. He talks of losing his best friend in battle. His wife’s letter tells of how much she and their daughter miss him. She’s lonely without him but stays busy. She tells him how they planted a garden and collect scrap metal to help support the war efforts. Her heart breaks until her soldier is at home and safe with her.
There is so much to see and learn about at the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum. I won’t tell you all their secrets, you’ll just have to plan a visit!
Planning Your Trip
Plan on staying at least two hours. We got there an hour and a half before closing and weren’t able to see everything as closely as we would have liked. We’ll definitely be going back!
Admission is very inexpensive. $6 for adults, $2 for children over five and children under five are free.
The true heroes, the real heroes, are the boys who fought and died, and will never come home. -Audie Murphy
This post contains one or more Amazon affiliate links. When you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in advertising fees. It’s a way you can help support this site without any extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support!