The Witte Museum
About this Partner
Opened in 1926 as San Antonio's first public museum, the Witte Museum has seminal collections from prehistoric hunter gatherers, vaqueros, cowboys, Spanish settlers, and the legacy ranches of Texas, as well as a renowned Texas art collection. The Witte's collection reflects the museum's three core initiatives of South Texas Heritage, Science, and Water Resources and illustrates how each is intertwined in the lives of South Texans of the past, present, and future.
The Witte's diverse collection of 183,000 artifacts includes those of the Hertzberg Circus Collection. The collection founded by Harry Hertzberg is the oldest public circus collection and one of the largest. Harry Hertzberg was a lawyer, civic leader and state senator from San Antonio as well as an avid circus fan. He collected circus artifacts and memorabilia throughout his adult life and was a former president of the Circus Fans of America. Upon his death in 1940 he bequeathed his collection to the San Antonio Public Library. Under the library's direction the collection doubled in size. In the 1990s the Las Carpas Collections documenting Mexican-American tent shows were added. The San Antonio Public Library operated the Hertzberg Circus Museum and Library until 2001. When they decided to release the collection it was transferred to the Witte Museum in 2003 per the terms of Harry Hertzberg's will.
The Hertzberg Circus Collection includes artifacts, programs, prints, posters, and handbills, photographs, and other memorabilia, as well as sound recordings, sheet music, correspondence, scrapbooks of newspaper and magazine clippings, books, videotapes, magazines and professional journals, and published manuscripts.