Last updated: 8/8/2014
Edinburg, Texas
Street Address
200 N. Closner Blvd
Edinburg, TX 78541
Mailing Address
121 E. McIntyre
Edinburg, TX 78541
phone: 956-383-6911
fax: 956-381-8518


Sunday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Adults: $5.50
Senior Citizens (62 and older): $4.50
Active Military (with ID): $4.50
Students (with ID): $4.00
Children (Ages 4-12): $3.00
Children (Ages 0-3): Free
Saturdays - 10:00 a.m. until Noon - Free (Exception in Special Event Saturdays)


Shan Rankin, Executive Director
Tom Fort, Exhibit Curator/Assistant Director
Lynn Beeching, Development Officer
Judy McClelland, Education Officer
Sandra Luna, Receptionist & Office Clerk
Barbara Strokes, Archives Curator
Marisela Saenz, Bookkeeping
Melissa Tijerina, Programs Officer
Martha Pena, Public Relations

The museum's Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archive holds an extensive collection of regional items, including maps, newspapers, books, genealogical material, audiovisual and digital material, and the largest collection of historical photographs within the lower Rio Grande Valley. The archive's holdings are a source of inspiration for the museum's exhibitions as well as for students, scholars, and others who conduct research here.

Prehistoric plants and animal fossils, native people and European colonization exhibits, and a steamboat replica are but a few of the fascinating displays to see at the Museum of South Texas History. For almost 40 years the Museum has chronicled the heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico, preserving its rich history.

The Museum continues its growth with the current development of River Crossroads, the third and final portion of Rio Grande Legacy. River Crossroads will introduce visitors to the rapid and astounding changes brought to the region during the twentieth century. In this and other endeavors, such as preservation of the Old Jail, supporters and FRIENDS enable the Museum to continue its mission of presenting the unique heritage of the region.

From mammoth bones to conjunto tunes, the Museum of South Texas History collects, preserves, and exhibits material relating the distinctive history and heritage of the lower Rio Grande region, along with the adjoining regions of South Texas and northeastern Mexico.


The Museum has been a part of the community since 1967. It first opened its doors as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the old Hidalgo County jail. Built in 1910, the Old Jail continues to be one the most important sections of the museum.

Artifact Collections

Of particular importance are ranch gear, agricultural implements and regional costumes. Archival materials and artifacts should relate to the Museum's geographical area and mission. (See first paragraph of Institutional Essay ) No artifact category is excluded.

Research Collections

Approximately 1,000 cubic feet of documents, photographs, maps, institutional records, and library---focusing on the history of Texas south of the Nueces River, and Northeastern Mexico. No charge for on-site personal research. Photocopies 25 cents per page. Appointments are preferred. Over 100,000 photographs and negatives, 5,000 slides, 200 audiotapes, 50 videotapes. Collections and Exhibits department deals with rights and reproduction issues. Fees/duplication charges run: 5x7@ $7, 8x10@ $11; negatives $15; staff research $12 per hour; handling $5; 8.25% state and city taxes.

Educational Programs

Guided tours are available for groups of all ages. School tours generally conform to developmental guidelines as well as to the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS program) and special exhibits. Hands-on elements are included.Films may be requested and shown. Several local school districts have contracts to pre-arrange district-wide tours.

Approximately half of the Museum's tour guides are bilingual. About 20 per cent of tours are given in Spanish. Tour guides receive extensive one-on-one training as well as access to a tour guide library, special events, and meetings.

MOSTH's Teacher Guide and Activity Kit is provided to teachers prior to tours, and includes tour guidelines as well as topical, exhibit-specific activities in a multi-packet format. The Museum works closely with the Region One Educational Service Center.

Other educator services include In-Service Training in local history and curricular integration of the Museum with The University of Texas-Pan American, located less than a mile away in Edinburg. Educator Enrichment Packages---locally topical booklets---are available upon request. The MOSTH Museum Store contains the region's best collection of books, including many scholarly works not sold elsewhere in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, about the region's history and culture. Multi-topical in-school programs include traveling presentations and lectures are also available for outreach to schools.

Internships include cooperation with The University of Texas-Pan American through which students fulfill hours in history, anthropology and communications courses, graded on performance in Museum tasks and individual research. The Museum also works with South Texas Teacher Academy, a magnet school for future teachers. STAA 10th graders act as tour guides for fourth grade tours and thereby gain their first teaching experience.

Weekend programs include lectures, films, and large-scale events such as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, a traditional celebration in Mexico); Pioneer and Ranch Crafts Day; and the MOSTH Medieval Faire. These are often organized with help from local groups (e.g. the Society for Creative Anachronism, Texas Archeological Society, Cinesol Film Festival). Dia de los Muertos, for example, features community-built altar exhibits, a music and dance festival, lectures, and special school and local organization participation.

MOSTH also features an active museum theater program. Not only are regional-themed plays presented at the Museum, but in September, 2000, a new $30,500 grant to MOSTH from the Inland Container Foundation will enable MOSTH to produce professionally assisted plays about regional history in schools and performances throughout South Texas. This "History Alive" program expects to reach at least 30,000 seventh grade students within the next two years.


Regular publications include a quarterly newsletter, "Borderlines," and the "Annual Report." MOSTH has published seven books: " Folklife and Folklore of the Mexican Border," 1973; *"Heritage Cookbook: A Round-Up of Regional Foods, "1983; *"Wild Horse Desert" winner of the T.R. Fahrenbach Award, 1986; "*Rio Grande Heritage: A Pictorial History," 1986; "The Heritage Sampler", 1991;" Mesquite Country: Tastes & Traditions from the Tip of Texas," national winner of the Tabasco Award,1996; and "Borderlands: The Heritage of the Lower Rio Grande through the Art of Jose Cisneros, 1998." *---Out of print.

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Western Museums Association’s (WMA) 2023 Annual Meeting

October 5 - 8, 2023

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New England Museum Association 2023 Conference

November 8 - 10, 2023

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Small Museum Association 2023 Conference

February 19 - 21, 2024

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2024 California Association of Museums Conference Announced

March 10 - 14, 2024

Location TBD



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