Bruce Winders, who has been the Alamo's historian and curator since 1996, is departing his position. Credit: Courtesy / Texas General Land Office

A historian who has brought a greater public understanding of the Alamo for more than two decades is departing his position, according to state officials.

Bruce Winders has been the Alamo’s historian and curator since 1996, when the site was still managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

In that role, he continued an earlier career in education, bringing the Alamo’s history to life for visitors from around the world, according to officials with the Texas General Land Office, which took over management of the Alamo in 2015.

“More than 35 million visitors have been his students over the last 23 years,” spokespersons for the office wrote in a prepared statement. “We wish him the very best and look forward to his continued contributions to teaching the world about the Alamo. Dr. Winders says he will always cherish his days at the Shrine of Texas Liberty and looks forward to seeing the growth that lies ahead for it.”

Winders did not respond to a phone call and text message Tuesday.

After earning his doctorate at Texas Christian University, Winders moved to San Antonio to accept the newly created role of historian and curator. He became known for his expertise in the Alamo and military history, writing books on the Mexican-American War and the Texas Revolution.

On social media this week, some of those who met Winders through his work related stories about his knowledge and passion for sharing it with others.

“He made them feel welcome, greeted my grandson by his nickname,” wrote one person in an Alamo-related Facebook group. “He gave them a full tour of the shrine, answering all questions with patience and humor. He also gave them a complete rundown on the antique gun collection currently on display and, thanks to Bruce, my grandson now has an exceptional working knowledge of black powder weapons.”

Becky Dinnin, who served as Alamo director from 2015 and 2018, said Winders is “not replaceable.”

“There are lots of curators, there are lots of historians,” Dinnin said Tuesday. “There are a good number of Alamo historians. But there’s only one public historian who really understands it, and that’s Bruce Winders.”

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.