Day Trips: Alamo Collections Center, San Antonio

Get a first look at the Phil Collins Texana collection at the new center


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Ralston Family Collections Center at the Alamo in San Antonio displays 500 artifacts from early Texas rarely seen by the public. Among the items on exhibit are items from the Phil Collins collection.

In 2014, the British rocker donated more than 400 items from Texas' revolutionary period to the state. Collins became interested in Texas history after watching Disney's Davy Crockett television show as a child. As a famous musician, his fascination became an obsession.


The new exhibition hall is behind the Alamo church and the gift shop. The Collections Center opened to the public on March 3, 2023, and the two-story building is only large enough to display a fraction of the Alamo's collection of more than 3,000 artifacts.

Once the Alamo Visitor Center and Museum opens in 2026, the artifacts will go on permanent exhibition. The Collections Center will then host traveling exhibits.


The current display of artifacts donated by multiple collectors ranges from weaponry to personal items from the time period. The small cards identifying the objects give little historic context.

It would be difficult to pick a favorite item, but several things stand out. The ceremonial swords linked to Sam Houston and Gen. Santa Anna are among the most unique articles. Upstairs in the document room is a muster roll taken at the fort before the battle. On the first floor, a large diorama of the Alamo has Collins, in his soft British accent, describing the 1836 battle.

The Alamo's Collections Center displays 500 rare artifacts without giving much historical background. At $14 for adults and $10 for children, the timed entry slots between 9am and 4pm are a bit pricey for all but the most dedicated history buffs.


1,644th in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

San Antonio, Phil Collins, Davy Crockett, Ralston Family Collections Center, Alamo, Alamo Visitor Center and Museum, Sam Houston, Santa Anna

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