Phil Collins’s Treasured Alamo Memorabilia Collection Finally Goes on Display

Can you feel it in the air tonight? Alamo superfan Phil Collins’s personal assemblage of artifacts will soon be on view.

The front of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

Genesis frontman Phil Collins certainly remembers the Alamo.

Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

In 2014, acclaimed drummer and pop singer Phil Collins agreed to donate his collection of Alamo and Texana artifacts to the Texas General Land Office, a government body that oversees the care of the Alamo, with the stipulation that the state build a museum to house them. Now, nearly a decade later, that plan is finally coming to fruition: On March 2, Collins’s personal prized Alamo pieces will be on display at the newly constructed Alamo Collections Center, which will temporarily display his artifacts until the Alamo Visitor Center and Museum is completed in 2026.

It’s no secret that Collins has been a certified Alamo fan since he was a child, a love that was sparked after the rock star watched the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955). Over the years, Collins’s childhood fascination grew into a full-blown obsession; with over 150 million albums sold and multiple chart-topping hits under his belt, he was able to amass over 400 Alamo-related pieces. Items in his collection include a rifle owned by Davy Crockett, a bronze cannon used by the Mexican Army, and battle orders written by General Antonio López de Santa Anna.“It might seem strange that something so American could affect someone so young thousands of miles away,” Collins said in his 2012 book The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey. “The Alamo story stuck with me, and there’s no getting away from that.”

A rendering of the new Alamo Visitor Center and Museum

While the Alamo Visitor Center and Museum is still being constructed, the Phil Collins Collection will temporarily be held at the Alamo Collections Center.

Courtesy of Alamo Visitor Center and Museum

The Alamo Collections Center is only a short-term home for the Phil Collins Collection. In 2026, the artifacts will be moved to the Alamo Visitor Center and Museum, a four-story, 100,000-square-foot museum currently under construction. But for now, 50 of Collins’s artifacts along with other exhibits, like the Donald and Louise Yena Spanish Colonial Collection, which features pieces from the Spanish Colonial period, will be displayed in the two-story mini-museum from March 2 through April 25. Both new buildings are part of the Alamo Plan, a $388 million proposal that aims to improve and maintain the Alamo Plaza. The Alamo Visitor Center and Museum is the crowning jewel of the project. The Phil Collins Collection was initially meant to only be housed in the Alamo Visitor Center and Museum, but after some construction delays, it was decided that the artifacts would debut at the Alamo Collections Center first. After the museum is built, the collections center will only show temporary exhibitions.

However, the Phil Collins Collection is not without controversy. A few of the items in Collins’s collection are of questionable origin. One of the dubious finds includes a knife purportedly owned by Jim Bowie that was “authenticated” by a psychic. However, the Alamo has stressed that in addition to presenting accurate information about one of the most infamous battles in Texas history, it also wants to show the fascination and fervor that has surrounded the event since 1836.

“We are focusing on telling the honest story of a collector’s journey,” the Alamo’s senior curator, Ernesto Rodriguez told ArtNews in a January 2023 interview.

The Alamo Collections Center is located behind the Alamo Church. Tickets for the center can be purchased at the church or online, starting at $7 per person. Entry will be free on March 2 in honor of Texas Independence Day.

Mae Hamilton is a former associate editor at AFAR. She covers all things related to arts, culture, and the beautiful things that make travel so special.
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