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Phil Collins' Artifact Collection Made It To The Alamo 'Against All Odds'

Jack Morgan
TPR Arts

The Alamo has revealed part of a larger collection of newly-received artifacts from an unlikely donor. What’s to be done with the new items signifies a major change on the Alamo grounds.

If you’re new to the Alamo City, you might be more familiar with the donor for his drumming and singing, rather than for his collecting of Alamo collectibles. Rock star Phil Collins first revealed his big give in 2014.

“I’ve had a love affair with this place since I was about 5 years old,” he said at the time.

Mexican Army Calvary helmet
The Alamo
Mexican Army Calvary helmet

He said his fascination began as a tale tailored by Hollywood, but all these years later he believes other perspectives were relevant, too.

“On both sides of the wall, because the history as told by Walt Disney and John Wayne was not the entire story as we all know,” Collins said.

Ernesto Rodriguez is Curator at the Alamo, and he lauded Collins’ donation.

“He amassed such a large collection and then gave it to the people of Texas. And it's housed here at the Alamo,” Rodriguez said. “One of the first things he ever obtained was a gift of a saddle receipt from John W. Smith.”

Collins picks up that story.

“…who was the main courier that went in and out of the Alamo. And I’ve always been fascinated by him. There was a clairvoyant I met once who claimed that I was he. I don’t buy that,” he said.

The crowd in front of the Alamo laughed.

Rodriguez said the entire Phil Collins collection will be housed about this time next year in a brand new exhibit hall built toward the back of the Alamo grounds. Those going between March 3 through April 25 will get a preview of that Collins Collection.

Mexican Army cannon
The Alamo
Mexican Army cannon

“At the moment, we're doing the sneak peek at a few of the items. One of the items that we put out is a small bronze cannon,” Rodriguez said. “It fired a Howitzer shell, which was the exploding shell. It's typical that the Mexican Army had.”

Another piece is a very ornate Mexican Army cavalry helmet.

“And it’s made out of leather, still has the horsehair mane on it. And it also has a tricolor pompom. It's a beautiful piece,” he said.

Also displayed: epaulettes from a Mexican uniform and the actual battle orders of the Alamo assault issued by General Santa Ana. Collins’ 200-plus piece collection will soon find a permanent home in the new exhibit hall, something that delights Collins to no end.

“I was like a dog with two tails, as they say in England. I just could not believe it that the exact place where my collection should be housed is the place where it came from,” he said.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii