Buffalo Soldiers Museum Sets Sights on Old Armory

The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston needs to move to a larger home, so it's launching a fundraising drive to pay for moving into one of the city's most historic buildings. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Buffalo Soldiers were African-American soldiers in the U.S. Army of the Old West in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Museum Director Paul Matthews says they were famous for their bravery and toughness under fire.

"The Buffalo Soldiers were the peace keepers in the American west. They chased down outlaws, Comancheros, Mexican revolutionaries. The term 'Buffalo Soldier' came from the Cheyenne warriors. They saw two things in the soldiers that they saw in the buffalo.  It was their naturally curly hair and their ferocious fighting spirit."

Matthews says the museum dedicated to preserving their memory will soon be moved from its original home to the historic Houston Light Guard Armory Building behind Houston Community College in midtown. He says they just need more room.

"We have the largest collection of African-American military memorabilia in the world. And so we need a larger space. We're also interested in having community projects and programs, and so we just need a larger space."

The Museum bought the Armory Building from the City of Houston with a $4.1 million dollar bank loan. It's now launching a campaign to raise money to pay back the loan, and pay for expanding the museum's collections and education programs into the larger facility.

"Everything's been approved. Our board has approved it. City Council has approved it. Everything is done. It's just a matter of time now."

Matthews says they hope to move into the Light Guard Armory Building sometime in late 2009. 

Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

 

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