A look back at Bowie: Man — Knife — Legend

In 2017, the Alamo hosted a special exhibit exploring the life of legendary Alamo defender James Bowie and the knife he made famous. The iconic Bowie knife is deeply ingrained in both Texas and American history and millions of Alamo visitors learned why Bowie is so significant to our history with the Alamo’s special exhibit Bowie: Man — Knife — Legend.

Divided into separate sections, the exhibit detailed Bowie’s life and how he became an American hero. Another part of the exhibit focused on Bowie’s adventures with his knife, including the 1827 Sandbar fight where he was forced to defend himself from political rival Norris Wright in a duel that turned into an all-out brawl. Word of this legendary fight spread across the American southwest and soon after demand for knives like Bowie’s skyrocketed, creating the term “Bowie knife.”

Dozens of replica and historic knives were on display, ranging from primitive style butcher knives to the classic Bowie style and James Black coffin handle knives. Knives by Caiaphas Ham, Daniel Searles and San Antonio cutler Sam Bell were showcased as well.

The exhibit also featured interactive touch screen kiosks, which gave visitors a close-up look at the knives. This allowed visitors to see these historic artifacts in detail that would normally not be possible in a traditional museum setting. These kiosks allowed visitors to dive deeper into the creation process, watching a blacksmith forage a knife.

Bowie: Man — Knife — Legend was truly a one-of-a-kind exhibit and experience. The Alamo will be opening a new special, temporary exhibit in 2018 that will be free to the public. If our Bowie exhibit sounds like something you wish you had seen than you won’t want to miss out on our next special exhibit, Fortress Alamo: The Key to Texas.

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