John Wayne Museum: Fort Worth, Texas

John Wayne Museum

With a career that started in the 1920s and encompassed more than 175 film and television roles through the 1970s, Wayne epitomized the image of the rugged American male, especially in western and war films such as Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, The Quiet Man and the role that would land him the Best Actor Oscar for True Grit.

Wayne’s 50-year career gets a showcase in Fort Worth, Texas with the recent opening of the John Wayne Museum, a collection of personal items and memorabilia that chronicles the impact of the man known as Duke (named after his dog)

John Wayne Museum


His youngest son, Ethan Wayne (who had appeared in some of his dad’s movies), has been instrumental in this enterprise.

Why now?

In the last few years, we’ve hosted interactive pop-up exhibits in both Nashville and Las Vegas. The turnout we had was incredible. After seeing the impact John Wayne still has, we wanted a more permanent location. Then it was just about identifying the right space. Patrick Gottsch introduced us to Craig Cavileer and they took us down to Fort Worth to show us what was happening in the stockyards. Once we saw their vision, we knew that it was the right place for John Wayne.

Items to display?

We tried to model the exhibit in a way that felt reflective of my father. Each room embodies who he was as a man through each major chapter of his life. All the pieces you see on display we felt best represented who he was during that particular chapter. It would be really easy to have an exhibit solely dedicated to his film career, but we wanted the fans who came through to walk away with a more holistic view of who he was as a person, both on-screen and off.

John Wayne Museum


John Wayne team?

Amy Shepherd and I and the John Wayne team, along with our partner, Patrick Gottsch of RFDTV, oversaw the design and development, and my family and I were very involved with the curation of each item on display. Since we own and operate it, we travel to Texas all the time.

Permanent exhibit?

The exhibit will be permanent, but we’re collecting and discovering items both in the John Wayne archive and at auctions. As new pieces come up, we’ll make sure they find a home in the museum.

John Wayne Museum

Wayne’s legacy?

The only legacy my father insisted on was helping to find a cure for cancer. We started the John Wayne Cancer Foundation after his passing and have been collaborating with doctors and medical professionals since then. There is an entire room at the exhibit that highlights our efforts so far and how much more we hope to accomplish.

John Wayne Museum