Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner

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The best privately owned museum in the southwest!

Billy the Kid Museum. Photo by David Burch.

Stop in and enjoy a trip through the past. Get a better understanding of the trials people of the 1800’s and early 1900’s endured in their struggles to stay alive and provide for their families. See it all during a visit to the Billy the Kid Museum located 2 miles east of downtown Fort Sumner.

We’ve been educating the young and old for over 45 years and look forward to sharing an exciting piece of history with you!

 

Billy the Kid Museum is located in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on Highway 60-84, 2 miles East of downtown. It is one of the most complete museums in the southwest and features relics of the historic past of one of Billy the Kid’s favorite haunts. Scores of items are one of a kind and are not seen elsewhere. The museum appeals to the old and young alike.

[Image]Billy the Kid was a frequent visitor in Fort Sumner, where the 21-year-old outlaw was shot to death in 1881 by Lincoln County Sheriff, Pat Garrett. The Kid used William H. Bonney as his name even though he was born Henry McCarty. He also used the name Henry Antrim, taking the name of his stepfather.

One item in the museum is a rifle that belonged to Billy the Kid, along with the documentation. Other interesting things are the door Billy backed through the night he was slain and two curtains that came out of Pete Maxwell’s bedroom where Billy was shot. There is a large rock he carved his name on. Also on display, you will see the chaps and spurs Billy liked to wear to dances. Billy was a very good dancer and singer and was much admired by the ladies.

Billy the Kid is known all over the world and has great appeal as an outlaw legend. Visitors have come from every state and 50 or more foreign countries.

Items connected with Billy the Kid

Rifle that once belonged to Billy the Kid.

  • Rifle
  • Chaps and Spurs
  • Locks of Hair
  • Original Wanted Poster
  • Books by the most authoritative historians
  • And much more

The Best Private Collection in the Southwest

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The museum’s collection includes antique cars, wagons, and buggies as well as a a horse-drawn hearse and memorabilia from what was once the Fort Sumner military fort. Some of the most interesting items are an army blanket, cash box and spurs that belonged to General Edwin Vose Sumner, the Civil War General for whom the fort was named. There is a letter from his daughter, donating the items to the museum.

There is a large souvenir and gift shop in the front entrance to the museum where visitors may purchase items for the entire family. There is ample free parking around the museum.

Make plans to spend the day in historic Fort Sumner.

Museum Highlights

41 Ford Pickup.

  • Billy the Kid Room

  • Billy the Kid Grave Replica
  • Jail
  • Blacksmith Shop
  • Homestead Shack
  • Over 150 fire arms on display
  • 14 antique automobiles
  • Gifts and souvenirs

Museum History

The likeable and congenial Ed Sweet, Museum originator, was born February 25, 1904 in Applegate, Michigan. At the age of four, his family came to New Mexico on an immigrant train, bringing all their household items and livestock with them. They settled in the small community of Melrose, 37 miles east of Fort Sumner. It was there that Ed grew up and, always with an adventurous heart, began thinking about someday building a museum.

An original hanging notice for

As he grew older, Ed Sweet realized that old relics, western and otherwise, possessed an unequaled pleasure to people from all walks of life. As he set about the task of making a living for his family, going from house to house peddling apples, sweet potatoes, making brooms and mattresses, he always kept an eye peeled for anything old. Money was short, so sometimes his wares were traded for antiques which people were more than glad to get out of their way in order to make room for more modern things.

Ed and his wife Jewel, after many years of collecting and planning, opened a one-building Museum in January of 1953.

Aware of the fact that the most talked-about “outlaw” in this part of the country is Billy the Kid, and having collected several items connected to Billy the Kid, Ed Sweet’s Museum became known as the “Billy the Kid Museum.”

As a result of their tireless effort in collecting and expanding, and their friendly and cheerful manner in meeting visitors, the Billy the Kid Museum is known the world over and now houses around 60,000 relics. Many are of historical value.

Ed Sweet passed away on December 5, 1974 at the age of 70. Mrs. Sweet continued to operate the Museum with the help of their son Donald until her retirement in 1979.

The Billy the Kid Museum continues to be an enjoyable stop for many visitors, of all ages, from all over the world.

The Museum, souvenir and gift shop is now owned and operated by Donald Sweet, his wife Lula, and their son Tim.

Museum Hours

John Chisolm's Civil War sword.  Photo by David Burch.

May 15 - October 1
Open Daily 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 1 - May 15
Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter
Closed January 1 through January 15

Museum Charges

12 years and older $4.00
6 years - 11 years $2.00
Senior Citizens $3.50
Under 6 years Free

Directions

Fort Sumner is thirty minutes west of Clovis on US 60/84, forty-five minutes south of Santa Rosa on US 84.

The Billy the Kid Museum is located at 1601 East Sumner Avenue on the south side of Highway 60. Click here for a map

Contact Us

Billy the Kid Museum
Route 1, Box 36
Fort Sumner, NM 88119
Phone: (505) 355-2380
E-mail: btkmuseum@plateautel.net

Where to Stay

Stay next door to the Billy the Kid Museum at the Valley View RV Park. The Valley View RV Park has 37 RV lots with complete hookups including Television.

Valley View RV Park
Route 1, Box 36
Fort Sumner, NM 88119
Phone: (505) 355-2380
E-mail: btkmuseum@plateautel.net

Television Stations
The Family Channel
KENW (PBS)
The Nashville Network (TNN)
WGN (Chicago, IL)
Superstation TBS (Atlanta, GA)
KOBR (NBC)
C-Span
FOX
KOAT (ABC)
Nickelodean
Country Music Television
Turner Network Television (TNT)
Cable News Network (CNN)
USA Network
The Discovery Channel
Univision
Galavision
Disney
VH-1
Animal Planet

Pet Rules
Keep all pets on a leash and walk them in the designated area (the vacant lot south of the RV park is a good place). In your absence, dogs must be in your RV, not tied or fenced-in outside. Cleaning up “accidents” is the responsibility of the pet’s owner. Consistently noisy pets will not be tolerated, for the sake of other guests in the park. Dogs that are vicious or that may bite, whether tied or fenced in your own space, will not be allowed to stay. Thank you for your cooperation.

BILLY THE KID MUSEUM
1601 E Sumner Ave.
Fort Sumner, New Mexico
Highway 60 & 84
(505) 355-2380