British pop superstar Phil Collins received a unique honor this week, as the Texas Legislature issued a resolution recognizing him as an honorary Texan, for the donation of “his magnificent collection of historical artifacts to the State of Texas for display at the Alamo.”
The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas was the location for a critical battle during the Texas Revolution, where Mexican President General Antonio López de Santa Anna killed all of the Texian defenders who bravely endured a thirteen day siege from February 23 to March 6, 1836. Santa Anna’s slaughter of the the Texians, along with the words of William B. Travis’ famous “Victory or Death” letter dated on the second day of the siege, inspired new recruits to join the Texian Army. Less than two months later, on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, Santa Anna and the Mexican Army were defeated, winning independence for Texas.
According to the concurrent resolution, HCR 79, Collins first became interested in the history of the Alamo when he saw the Walt Disney television series Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier as a child. He began collecting historic artifacts related to the Alamo in the mid 1990s, and sponsored and participated in a historical dig in 2004 near the Mission site.
Collins would go on to collect hundreds of artifacts, described in the resolution as “a phenomenal collection” that is “now considered the world’s largest private collection of Alamo and Texas Revolution artifacts; it includes hundreds of documents, among them a letter from Stephen F. Austin and an 1835 grant of land to Sam Houston, as well as a rifle and leather pouch owned by David Crockett and a knife carried in battle by Jim Bowie.”
He would also narrate a light and sound show about the Alamo, speak at numerous events, and write a book in 2012, The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey. On June 26, 2014, at a press conference at the Alamo, Collins announced that he was donating his entire collection of Alamo artifacts to the State of Texas, which have been stored in the basement of his home in Switzerland.
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is responsible for overseeing the Alamo, and former GLO Commissioner Jerry Patterson had worked out the arrangements for Collins’ collection to be donated, according to a report by the San Antonio Express-News.
As Breitbart Texas reported, the one stipulation on Collins’ gift was that Texas would build a new facility at the Alamo, with the security measures and conservation technology needed to both protect these priceless pieces of Texas history and to display them so that future generations of Texans and visitors to the Alamo could experience and learn from them.
Collins told the media that while he treasured his collection and looked at it “every day,” the fact that “nobody else was enjoying it” was weighing on him. Collins also said that he intended to continue to “keep collecting, keep accumulating” Alamo artifacts and “ship it over here.”
The resolution honoring Collins passed by unanimous consent, thanking him for his donation that would “greatly enhance the experience of visitors to the Alamo, providing them with a greater understanding and appreciation of the famous battle and its place in the arc of history.”
“[B]y sharing his love of our frontier heritage through this superlative gift,” continued the resolution, “he has earned the lasting respect and gratitude of all residents of the Lone Star State.”
Collins was the star for the day at the Capitol, posing for pictures and speaking with what seemed like every single one of Texas’ elected officials, including meeting with Governor Greg Abbott and GLO Commissioner George P. Bush at the Governor’s Mansion.
What’s your favorite Phil Collins song? pic.twitter.com/4H682FN562
— Gov Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 11, 2015
— George P. Bush (@georgepbush) March 11, 2015
— Office of the Lt Gov (@LtGovTX) March 11, 2015
The GLO shared a group of pictures from the reading of the resolution at the Capitol on Facebook and Twitter, declaring that they had a “groovy kind of love” for Collins, referencing one of his best-known songs.
— TXGeneralLandOffice (@txglo) March 11, 2015
As Breitbart Texas reported, the GLO recently reorganized the Alamo Endowment Board, which will be responsible for a multi-million dollar capital campaign to raise funds for building a museum and visitors center to protect and display Collins’ donated artifacts, as well as hundreds of other Alamo artifacts that have been hidden away in storage due to a lack of a proper space to house them.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.