Hundreds of artifacts — including swords, knives, cannons, kitchen utensils, ranching instruments and agricultural and blacksmith tools used by Spanish settlers and indigenous peoples of the American Southwest — have found a new home at the Alamo.
The Alamo Trust, the historic site’s nonprofit steward, announced over the weekend it has acquired the collection after a multi-year process from longtime Bexar County collectors Donald and Louise Yena. The price was not disclosed.
Donald Yena, a renowned Western artist, used the artifacts to inform his paintings, according to an Alamo Trust news release. He also donated six large paintings depicting life in early Spanish Texas and the Battle of the Alamo.
“We are excited to see our historical collection go to somewhere as unique and revered as the Alamo,” Donald Yena, 89, stated. “It is important to the Yena family that we share our art and artifacts with not only the people of San Antonio, but the Alamo’s many visitors from around the world.”
The more than 400-piece collection will be displayed in the Alamo Collections Center, which is slated to open in early 2023. Officials say the artifacts will help illustrate what life was like before the historic 1836 battle between Mexican and Texan forces, when the Alamo was known as Mission San Antonio de Valero.
“The historical collection will help provide an extraordinary view of early 18-century frontier life for our visitors, from when the Alamo was founded nearly 300 years ago to the dawn of the Texas Revolution,” Alamo Trust Executive Director Kate Rogers stated.
The Donald and Louise Yena Spanish Colonial Collection will be added to the Trust’s 2,000-piece artifact collection and more than 430 pieces collected by rock musician Phil Collins, who donated his collection to the Texas General Land Office in 2014.
The $15 million Alamo exhibition hall and collections building will be the first major piece of an estimated $388 million overhaul of Alamo Plaza that includes a new visitors center and museum (located in adjacent historic buildings that housed entertainment attractions), education center, event hall and other historic interpretations such as the 18-Pounder Losoya House and palisade exhibit and cannon replicas.
The Alamo Master Plan is a result of a partnership among the City of San Antonio, Texas General Land Office and the Alamo Trust.