Skip to content

Cleburne Gets New Native American Museum

Written by , published November 14, 2014

Cleburne-Big-Bear-NA-MuseumCleburne is adding to the Chisholm Trail experience with its newest addition –– the Big Bear Native American Museum of artifacts dating back to 15,000 B.C. A grand opening celebration is set for Saturday, Nov. 15.

The new museum takes visitors on a historical journey from the first Native Americans in 15,000 B.C. to present day with concentration on Texas pre-history and Texas archaeology.

Before passing away in 2012, Texarkana native Leonard J “Big Bear” Beal donated Native American artifacts that he and his children had collected, over the last 50 years, to the Johnson County Heritage Foundation. The items will be housed in a building crafted especially for the collection.

The Johnson County Heritage Foundation, which has been working with 'Steward of the Office of the Texas State Archeologist’ Jimmy Smith and Baylor Archaeologist Carol Jameson, is hosting grand opening festivities for the Big Bear Native American Museum at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 15. For more information, visit o welcome the latest addition to the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum. Admission is Adults $5, Students & Seniors $4 and Active Military in uniform free.

Texarkana native Leonard J Beal “Big Bear” was a descendant of Native American-Cherokee who had many professions throughout his life, including policeman, professional wrestler, Hollywood actor, musician, railroad engineer, soldier, sailor, Shriner, artist, jeweler, and a lifetime collector of historical artifacts. Big Bear was a museum curator and had his own Big Bear & Sons Museum in California. After a while he moved to Grandview, where he had all his collection in a museum by his home.

The Big Bear Native American Museum will be open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Back to top