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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 2005 and operate on donations only. 

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, not only in this area but in the rest of the nation.

What are the museum's hours of operation?

Friday - Saturday  10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (if gate open)

Gate open time is restricted to the number of volunteers we have available. However, walking tours are still permitted if the gate is closed. All open days are weather permitting.

How much do museum tours cost?

For Private tours and School Field Trips please call for pricing.


Please call Carrie Reynolds at 254-998-0261 for all tour bookings and questions.

What are the admission costs?

Our admission fees are:


Adults: $8

Kids 8-18: $5

**Prices subject to change for events**

What is the cost of holding events at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum?

We are an all-volunteer 501 (c)(3) foundation, excluding the Big Bear Native American Museum, and operate on donations only. 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 Johnson County Heritage Foundation representative and get a quote.


This includes weddings, family reunions, and company picnics. Our annual Pioneer Days is a free event.

What type of foundation is the Johnson County Heritage Foundation?

With the exception of the Big Bear Native American Museum, we are an all-volunteer 501 (c) (3) foundation. The Johnson County Heritage Foundation has no paid staff, however, we do employ a paid staff at the Big Bear Native American Museum.  All donations to the Johnson County Heritage Foundation, Inc. are tax deductible.

What type of events do you host?

The Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum is available for weddings, birthdays, board meetings, family or corporate outings, and more. We will provide the location only, everything else must be provided by you. 

Our annual event is Pioneer Days, held the Friday through Sunday before Thanksgiving each year. The event garners thousands of people each year.

Are alcoholic beverages permitted at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum?

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 or admittance to anyone. 

Exceptions can be made for private bookings and events, but require prior approval by the Johnson County Heritage Foundation, Inc.

What is the cost of a bus tour?

Guided bus tours are $5.00/person. We require at least a one-week notice in order to reserve a guided bus tour. The fully guided tour takes at least an hour. A more extensive tour takes approximately two hours. A quick walk-through of the museum takes approximately 30 minutes.

Do you offer school field trips?

We love hosting field trips! In the last few years, we have had more than 7000 school children on sanctioned field trips.

Our field trip admission fees are:

Adults: $8

Kids and Seniors: $5

Strollers Free

Are there any special discounts for the Big Bear Native American Museum?

We are currently offering discount tickets to the Big Bear Native American Museum through and Groupon. Once you purchase your tickets, you can print them at home.

Are there any requirements for large groups booking an extended event?

f your group is more than 25 people and you are planning to stay more than 2 hours, you are required to furnish portable restrooms. For more information and to discuss your options, please call 254-998-0261.

Are you looking for volunteer docents to give tours?

Yes! We are an all-volunteer foundation (with the exception of the Big Bear Native American Museum) and we rely on people who have a passion for history to give tours. We would love to be open every day, but are limited by the number of volunteers to give tours. We are always looking for dedicated people to guide tours for the public. 

If you would like to learn more about becoming a docent, call Carrie Reynolds at 254-998-0261.

Are there requirements for becoming a docent/tour guide?

We are always looking for volunteer docents, and there are a few things that are very important to us in a prospective docent/tour guide:

  • Docents need to love people and enjoy talking to them.

  • We request all docents to dress in traditional Western dress.

  • An existing knowledge of area history is helpful, but can be learned quickly.

  • High availability on weekends and for special events. Sometimes you may only be needed one day a week, or even just one day a month. Currently, we are in need of volunteers on Saturday mornings and/or Sunday afternoons.

  • If you are available on weekdays or on a regular basis, we can use you for tours during that time.

  • We have some docents that only work special events two to three times a year. Others docents call a few days ahead and we can schedule them to fit their agenda.

What types of events and groups have you hosted at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum?

We are happy to have hosted a variety of events and groups on the grounds at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum:

  • Weddings

  • Board Meetings

  • Birthday Parties

  • Mock Western Court Trials

  • School Field Trips

  • Civil War Re-encampments

  • Gunfighter Groups

  • Blacksmith Gatherings

  • Motorcycle Groups

  • Antique Car Groups

  • Scouting Groups

  • Camp Fire Girls

  • Senior Citizens Groups

  • Historical Groups

  • Native Americans

  • Garden Clubs

  • Annual Pioneer Days

  • Visitors from all over the world

  • And many more! 

What is your pet policy?

Pets are certainly allowed in all areas of the property, we just ask that you pick up after your pet. Plastic bags and scoops are not provided. Do NOT allow your pet to urinate on the historic buildings. 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 at all times, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Do you allow video crews on site?

Here are our rules for any videos that use our location:

  • All parties who come onto the property must sign a Release Form in advance, with no exceptions

  • You must list us in your credits for the location

  • You must provide us with a copy of the finished product

  • You must give us permission to use your finished product on our Website and on our Facebook page (as listed on our Release Form)

  • You must leave the property clean and in original condition (as listed on our Release Form)

  • We charge $50/day plus a refundable $50 deposit if the grounds are left clean and undamaged.

Do you allow professional photographers on site?

For professional photographers to use the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum we charge $50/day, payable in advance. All photographers must sign a Release of Liability form prior to taking photos. Non-professional family photos are always encouraged! 

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