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Frequently Asked Questions
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Upcoming Events
14th Annual Pioneer Days
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
14th Annual Pioneer Days**Free Event** November 17th, 18th, 19th, 2017 8am to 6pm each day Come and experience life in.... More
2017 Market Days at CTOM, April through October
Sunday, June 04, 2017
Join us for Market Days, April through October! On the 4th Saturday of the month, JCHS hosts a vendors market.... More
Are there any requirements for large groups for extended stays?
Groups over 25 people require you to furnish portable restrooms if planning to stay more than two hours.
Call 817 648 2815 or 817 648 4633 to discuss your options.
Are teepees available for overnight stays?
Teepees are not available to spend the night at this time.
This is a possibility in the future, especially since the Big Bear Native American Museum
is now completed. The museum is located behind the teepee area.
How much does a tour usually cost?
There is no charge for normal tours. We do bus tours with advance notice and are $5 person. Two weeks notice required.
How much does an event cost?
We are an all volunteer 501 (c)(3) foundation except for the Big Bear Native American Museum and operate on donations. There is no charge to tour the site for individuals or small groups. If you wish to reserve any or all of the Outdoor Museum for a specific period of time, you will need to contact a JCHF representative and get a quote. In general, the fee structure is $100 per hour with a three hour minimum. Our annual Pioneer Days is a free event.
What are the gate hours of operation?
Gate open time is restricted to the number of volunteers available.
Walking tours are permitted if gate is closed.
We are usually closed due to extreme heat, cold or rain.
Regular hours are Thur/Fri/Sat from 10am to 5pm.
Sundays from1pm to 5pm. Closed Mon/Tue/Wed.
Winter hours (Jan-Mar) are Saturdays 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 1pm to 5pm. Closed Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri.
What type of foundation is the JC Chisholm Trail Museum?
With the exception of the Big Bear Native American Museum, we are an all volunteer 501 (c) (3) foundation and donations are tax deductible. There are no paid staff except for the Big Bear Native American Museum.
What type of events do we host?
We are available for weddings, birthdays, board meetings, family or corporate outings. Our annual event is Pioneer Days held the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. There are several thousand people who attend this event.
What is the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum?
The Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum is a private historical area that is open to the public. The Museum is operated by Johnson County Heritage Foundation, Inc., an all volunteer 501 (c) (3) foundation with the exception of the Big Bear Native American Museum. We were incorporated in March of 2005 and operate on donated funds. Our purpose is to educate and restore the rich history of Wardville, the first county seat of Johnson County and the impact the Chisholm Trail had on this historic site. With the addition of the Big Bear Native American Museum, we now include the impact and history of Native Americans in this area as well as the nation.
What are the restrictions for alcoholic bevarages?
The Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum is a family friendly historic site.
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the grounds. Anyone who violates this is subject to severe penalties.
We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. The exceptions are for private bookings and must be approved by JCHF, Inc.
Are there any annually held events?
Our annual signature event is PIONEER DAYS held in November the weekend before Thanksgiving Day. You can view pictures from Pioneer Days in our Gallery. We plan to add a Spring Event, so please check back with us.
What is the cost of getting a bus tour?
Guided bus tours are $5.00 per person and reservations with at least a weeks notice is required.
A fully guided tour will take at least an hour. To really see and hear everything takes about two hours.
A quick walk through takes about thirty minutes.
Do we offer sanctioned field trips?
We have had over seven thousand school children on sanctioned field trips in the last few years. We are currently working with many local Johnson County schools to provide a historic school day in our one room school house. Please contact us if your school would be interested.
A full blown field trip costs about $1,200 to $1,500 and would include the following:
Groups of about 30 at a time ride on a hay wagon to get from point to point.
Picture taken on a Longhorn steer.
Blacksmith demonstration.
Horse shoeing demonstration.
Cowboys and Native Americans in full regalia.
Guided tours of the Nolan River School, Oldest Log Courthouse in Texas, Sheriff's Office and Jail, Teepees, 1855 Cemetery, Stage Station.
We would pay the Cowboys, Native Americans, Blacksmith, Farrier.
We would furnish a hot dog meal, straw cowboy hats, a rope to twirl.
Other options:
Gunfight with gunfighters in full dress and equipment.
Terry's Texas Rangers firing a cannon.
Let us know what you want and we will customize a trip for you and quote a price.
About two months notice is required for these types of field trips.

There is no charge to bring a group of students to participate in a walking tour without a guide with the exception of the Big Bear Native American Museum.
Are there any special discounts?
We are currently offering discount tickets to the Big Bear Native American Museum through LocalSaver.com and also Groupon.com.
Do we offer any professional services on site?
Sam Keller, our Blacksmith, is available to do custom work by appointment only. Call 817 517 1924.
Cheryl Keller makes custom jewelry that is available on site. Call 817 271 6295.
John Jobe, our other Blacksmith on site will do custom work. Call 682 225 0861.
Are you looking for volunteer docents?
We are an all volunteer foundation with the exception of the Big Bear Native American Museum and rely on people who love history and people
to give tours. We would love to be open every day, but are limited by the number of volunteers to give tours. So the answer to this question is YES. If you would like to learn more about becoming a docent, call Docent Coordinator Bill Pfeiffer at 817 933 1747 or Diane Gilbert at 817 648 4633.
Are there any requirements for large groups for extended stays?
Groups over 25 people require you to furnish portable restrooms if planning to stay more than two hours.
What does it take to be a docent or tour guide?
This is not only a good question, but very important to us.
1. Docents need to love people and enjoy talking to them.
2. A knowledge of area history is helpful and can be learned quickly.
3. Being available on weekends and special events; even if it is only one day a month or one day a week, we can use you. We are in need of people to volunteer on Saturday mornings and/or Sunday afternoons.
4. If available week days on a regular basis, we can use you.
5. We have some docents that only work special events, two to three times a year. Others call a few days ahead and we schedule to fit their agenda.
Please call Docent Coordinator Bill Pfeiffer at 817 933 1747 for more information.
What type of events and groups have you had at the Outdoor Museum?
1. Weddings
2. Board Meetings
3. Birthday Parties
4. Mock Trial
5. School Field Trips (over 5000 students)
6. Civil War Re-encampments
7. Gunfighter Groups.
8. Blacksmith Gathering
9. Motorcycle Groups
10.Antique Car Groups
11.Scouting Groups
12.Camp Fire Girls
13.Senior Citizens Groups
14.Historical Groups
15. Native Americans
16. Garden Clubs
17. Annual Pioneer Days
18. Visitors from all over the world.
These are not all, but should give you an idea.
Are there fees/policies for large groups and special events
Normal Admission………………………………………..………............No Charge
Parking …...........................................................................................No Charge
Big Bear Native American Museum....................................................$5 Adults, $4 Seniors, Ages 8-18 $2, 7 and Under Free.

Special Charges

Rule of Thumb Special Events Must be Reserved.........Donation..................………$100. Per Hour with 3 Hour minimum -This includes Parking.This may vary depending on the size of the group and what their needs are.Example: We have charged as little as $100 for a wedding consisting of 5 people who were here less than an hour. These Events could be: Weddings, Board Meetings,Corporate Meetings, Family Outings, Birthday Parties, Club Meetings Etc.

Special Request will be considered if at all possible.

Guided Tours including Bus Tours 25 or more (Week Notice).Donation...................... $5.00 Per Person

Reserved Small Group (2 to 10) Guided Tours with (Two day Notice)..Donation............... $7.50 Per Person

NOTE: A Reserved Guided Tour includes going in all the buildings and exhibits with a brief history of each given by a knowledgeable docent. This will take at least 90 minutes or more and requires some walking. These guided tours are only available if qualified docent is on duty.

While you may reserve and pay for the Courthouse/School/Pavilion etc. for a wedding or other function, the front gate will be open and there will be visitors coming and going to other areas of the Outdoor Museum. The only exception would be after 5:00 PM with a $500 minimum.

All Reservations must have 50% Deposit and Balance Paid in full before event.

Unless unusual situation, we do not charge: Military Groups * Law Enforcement or Fire
Department Groups * Boy or Girl Scouts * Campfire Girls * Current and Previous Sponsors
Note: This could be In-Kind donations as well as money.

Note: Larger Groups of 25 or more that are going to be here for more than a few hours may
need to furnish their own Portable Restrooms. We are on a septic tank and can not handle a large group without shutting down the restrooms.

There is electricity in Pavilion, front of Stone Welcome Wall, inside/outside Courthouse,
inside/outside Stage Station and in front of the 2 teepees, east and west sides of the Big Bear Native American Museum. Most of the outside plugs are on 30 amp breakers. The Teepee area has only 20 amp breakers.

There are outside water faucets at the Blacksmith Shop, Teepee Area, Stage Station and Windmill and on the west side of the Big Bear Native American Museum.

To Reserve the Outdoor Museum or Ask Questions Call: 817 648 0989 / 817 648 2815 / 817 648 1486/ 817 933 1747.
Pet Policy
Pets are certainly allowed in all areas of the property, but we ask that you pick up after your pet. Plastic bags and scoops are not provided. There is a grassy strip between the cable fence and the road where you may walk your pet.
All pets must be on a leash. No exceptions.
For the Big Bear Native American Museum: Certified service pets are allowed.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Pow Wow Etiquette
Pow Wow Etiquette

The area for dancing and ceremonies is called the arena, and it's boundaries are usually marked by hay bales set in a circle. The arena has been blessed and is considered sacred. Do not walk across the arena; instead walk around it. Children should be supervised and not be allowed to run in or around the arena. Pets should not be taken into the arena.

Listen to the emcee. He will entertain and keep attendees informed about pow Wow events. If you have questions, the emcee can usually answer them for you between announcements.

Ask permission before taking photos of dancers in regalia. If the photo is for publication or commercial use, this should be explained before the photo is taken.

Photos should not be taken during Veteran's Songs, Flag Songs, prayers or any other time specified by the emcee.

The correct term for a dancer's outfit is regalia, not costume. Never touch a dancer's regalia. Many of the ornaments have religious meaning and are cherished family heirlooms.

Always stand respectfully during special songs. These include the Grand Entry, Flag Songs, Veteran's Songs or any other song that the emcee designates. During these songs, men should remove their hats.

When invited by the emcee or performers, visitors may participate in social and inter-tribal dances.

It is considered polite to accept an offer of food or an invitation to eat with the dancers. It is a high honor to be asked to eat with a Native American family.

Around the arena, there is a sheltered area that can either be in the form of an arbor or simply a canopy, which designates a resting place for the elders, dancers, singers and Pow Wow officials. Take care not to sit in these places, which are easy to spot if you pay attention. There will be chairs, articles of clothing and other personal belongings in plain sight.

Unless you are sure that seating will be provided, bring your own chair. The seating immediately around the arena is reserved for dancers and their families. Seats with blankets, shawls or regalia items on them are taken and should not be bothered. Do not sit on someone's blanket unless invited. Uncovered seats are considered available.

Alcohol, recreational drugs and firearms are strictly prohibited at most Pow Wows.

If you see a feather fall from a dancer's regalia or locate a lost feather, do NOT pick it up. Notify the nearest Veteran, the Head Veteran, Head Man Dancer, emcee or Arena Director immediately. There are special ceremonies involved in returning the feather to its place and photos should not be taken during these sacred ceremonies.

Do not touch a drum or sit at a drum without permission.

Pointing with the fingers is considered poor manners by some tribes. If you must point, use your head and nod in the direction you wish to indicate.

It is common to see teepees and lodges set up on the grounds. These are not open to the public unless clearly marked for demonstrations and visitors. Pow Wow participants live in the teepees during the gathering and they are, in fact, their homes for the duration.
Chisholm Trail Marker - Wardville Courthouse
The Wardville Courthouse was the first county seat of Johnson County, chosen in August 1854, and located on an 80 acre donation from William O'Neal. Named for Thomas William Ward (1807-72), a Republic of Texas soldier and second commissioner of.... Read More
Did you know?
In Texas, there were hundreds of feeder trails heading north to one of the main cattle trails. In the early 1840s, most cattle were driven up the Shawnee Trail. The Chisholm Trail was previously used by Indian hunting and raiding parties; it went north from Austin through Waco, Wardville and Fort Worth.

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