Since 1954, the award-winning Bosque Museum has been a “must see” ever-evolving cultural history location housing artifacts and resources representing every stage of the county’s historic and prehistoric past.
Since 2020, the most well-know exhibit has been the Horn Shelter experience. Discovered in Bosque County in 1970, the Horn Shelter is a deeply stratified rock shelter that dates from the recent historic to the Paleoamerican time periods, one of only fifteen known Paleoamerican shelters in North America. The exhibit includes interactive elements that allows guests to explore the burial site of an adult man and young girl that dates to 11,700 years ago, along with replicas of objects discovered at the site, and also includes a facsimile of the excavation complete with the original tools employed by the excavators.
The museum had its origins in 1924, when Norwegian pioneer Jacob Olson bequeathed his enormous collection of artifacts and memorabilia to the former Clifton Lutheran College; with the provision the collection never leave Bosque County. When the college closed in 1954, the collection became the foundation of today’s Bosque Museum. The 1866 Jacob Olson log cabin was reconstructed on museum grounds in 1985 and received a Texas Historical Marker. It remains a popular attraction on tours for old and young alike.
Befitting Clifton’s notoriety as “The Norwegian Capital of Texas,” the museum has a strong emphasis on this unique heritage of the area and holds the largest collection of Norwegian artifacts in the South and southwest. This collection includes a disc plow invented by Ole Ringness, which revolutionized agriculture, and an extensive Norwegian language book collection. It also includes a chair made by Cleng Peerson, the “Father of Norwegian Immigration to America.” Peerson spent his final years in Bosque County, and is buried near Clifton. King Olav V of Norway visited the museum in 1982 when ceremonies were held to observe the 200th anniversary of Cleng Peerson’s birth.