About Layland

The Layland Museum is comprised of multiple buildings located on Caddo St. and Main St. in downtown Cleburne.  The museum’s gallery is located in the Carnegie Library building. The Smith History Center holds the research library and kitchen classroom. Many of the museum’s public programs will place in the Studio, located in the Cleburne Railroad Museum.

  1. Layland History
  2. Museum Facilities
  3. Board & Staff
  4. Get Involved


In 1900, the Women’s Club of Cleburne contacted steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie for assistance in building a library for the community. Carnegie, a champion of libraries, contributed $20,000 to the project, which the community then matched. The building opened on May 25th, 1905.

The Layland Museum came into existence through a gift in 1963. William J. Layland, a local businessman, had collected some 500 ethnographic items in the early 1900s. His heirs offered the items to the City of Cleburne and the Layland Museum began.

The collection found display space on the second floor of the city’s Carnegie Library, known as the Cleburne Public Library at that time. School students were among the first to discover the artifact collection which included guns, fossils, Indian clothing, clay pottery, photographs, and game animal trophy mounts.

In 1978, the Layland Museum gained full access to the Carnegie Library building after the local library moved to a new location. Through the years, the collection has grown to include thousands of objects from hundreds of donors. The museum is open 5 days a week and free of charge, offering quality exhibits and public programs about local and regional history.

In 2016, the Cleburne Railroad Museum opened on the same block and became part of our museum complex. We are proud to be able to focus on the integral role played by the railroads in Cleburne’s history.

The building is a Greek Revival style that was popular in the era. The front entrance and main room feature ionic columns with ornamental necking. There are various styles of plaster decorating both interior and exterior features. The structure is largely unchanged from its original construction, though interior furnishings and finishes were changed through the years to match the latest trend. The restoration of the building to its original state is ongoing.