890 W. State Hwy 56
Bonham, TX 75418
|Sunday, Tuesday - Saturday||9 AM - 4:30 PM|
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Students (): $3
Children (6-18): $3
Children under 5: Free
Adult Tour Groups$3
Anne Ruppert, Curator
Step into the warm and welcoming world of one of Texas’ best known statesmen, Sam Rayburn. One of the most influential politicians of the 20th century, Rayburn served in the U.S. Congress for 48 years. His 1916 home, now the Sam Rayburn House Museum, preserves his real stories with original furnishings, candid photographs and personal belongings, remaining as they were when he lived here
The Sam Rayburn House Museum, a Texas Historical Commission property, is home of Sam Rayburn, one of the most powerful and influential politicians of the 20th century. Rayburn built the two-story home in 1916 on a 121-acre farm just west of Bonham, a North Texas community. Rayburn served in the Texas House of Representatives and the U.S. Congress, eventually becoming speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rayburn served as speaker for 17 non-consecutive years between 1940 and his death in 1961.
The home exists today as a 20th-century time capsule that preserves the Rayburn family home of the 1960s. Visitors can explore Rayburn’s personal life and political achievements and their impact on mid-20th-century history. The home contains all original Rayburn family furnishings. In addition, the grounds include Rayburn’s 1947 Cadillac, a historic smokehouse, vegetable garden, barn and garage. The home is a National Historic Landmark, a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Visiting Sam Rayburn House Museum
Visitors to Sam Rayburn House Museum walk in the Rayburn family’s footsteps in exploration of the life and home of Sam Rayburn. All tours of the house and grounds are guided and begin with the house museum. Tours include the downstairs and the upstairs rooms of Rayburn’s home as well as the site grounds and outbuildings. Visitors can go inside Rayburn’s garage to view his 1947 Cadillac. Other buildings on the tour are viewed from the outside. We recommend allowing 30 minutes to an hour to tour the site completely.
Visitors enter and exit the museum grounds through the visitors center, and tours start and end there as well. The visitors center offers free brochures and information about the site and surrounding area, as well as the Texas Historical Commission’s other state historic sites. A museum shop is also located in the visitors center with books, novelty pencils, and postcards for purchase. There is a free gallery where visitors can view the latest exhibit on Rayburn. Exhibits change once or twice a year.
The Sam Rayburn House Museum features and was the home place of Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Sam Rayburn. Built in 1916, the house and surrounding property was designated as a future museum and place of research in Sam Rayburn's Last Will and Testament. Following his death in 1961, the House remained occupied by family members until 1969. It was then managed by the Sam Rayburn Foundation. In 1972 the House was deeded to the Texas Historical Commission and it opened as a museum in 1975.
Site artifacts include all the original furnishings and household items of the Rayburn Family members who resided in the House. Ranging from early 1800's to 1960's furnishings reflect a long occupation of the home by two generations of Rayburns. There are some 10,000 household items (including furniture, dishes, clothing, linens, and other memorabilia). Also onsite are some 3,000 photographs and negatives both historic and recording occupation of the site since it became a museum property. Archival materials are limited but there is working access to materials in the holdings of the Sam Rayburn Library. There are 4 vehicles onsite which belonged to Mr. Sam or other family members.
The entire property provides a glimpse of mid-1900's rural Texas life. Photographs and a limited archival collection add to the story of these artifacts. There is a good site collection of publications about Sam Rayburn which are available for on-site research. The site also provides a field office for the Texas Historical Commission and has extensive files and publications on preservation, conservation and museum management topics.
Current educational programming consists of guided tours for student and adult groups. Teachers receive a pre-visit packet of information and activities and a video presentation about the life and political importance of Sam Rayburn. All tours and materials are provided at no charge. Workshops on museum managment/conservation topics are available. Annual events--Christmas Open House and Chili Cookoff are held at the site.
A newsletter of the Friends of Sam Rayburn is published twice a year. The Site is included in publications of the Texas Historical Commission. The site recently reprinted a 1933 Fannin County Cookbook which was originally edited by Minnie Eldridge, Mr. Sam's cousin.
Wheelchair-accessible parking and restrooms are available on site. The visitors center is wheelchair accessible, and the front porch and first floor of the house museum are wheelchair accessible, but may be limited to smaller wheelchairs. The second floor of the house is not wheelchair accessible. The grounds are well-manicured grass with some gravel and dirt areas; there are no sidewalks. The garage that houses Rayburn’s 1947 Cadillac is wheelchair accessible but must be accessed from the lawn. Visitors who cannot take the full tour can view a PowerPoint presentation of the tour in the comfort of the visitors center.
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