PLAINVIEW - The Llano Estacado Museum is losing one of its long-time exhibits, although it's not the type of exhibit you might be thinking. Patrons will still find the Native American teepee set up in the north-west corner or the wooly mammoth fossil near the entrance. This exhibit has been housed upstairs.
Eddie Guffee, who has been on display as the curator of the museum since 1978, is retiring after 30 years of working with Wayland Baptist University. Guffee, who spent two years working with Wayland as an independent archeologist in 1974-75, signed on as the museum's assistant director in 1976.
"The university says 28 years, I say 30," said Guffee with a grin. "It took me that long to figure out that I didn't want to do this type of work."
A retirement reception will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 in the Independence Room at the museum.
Guffee, a graduate of Kress High School who did his college work at West Texas State University in Canyon, has been responsible for setting up every exhibit on display in the museum. And even as he retires, he says there a few more exhibits that he would like to see go up, including an old Model T Ford and a taxidermy collection. He also had a hands-on role in designing the museum.
"The original design was a round building which was impractical and very expensive," he said. "We went back to the architect and told him we needed something better. He came back to use with a shoe box. That was basically it."
Guffee's suggestion: "Slope the walls."
"The first farmers in the whole regions built mud houses with sloped walls," Guffee said. His idea made sense and gave birth to the building that sits at 8 th and Smyth streets on the Wayland campus. However, he doesn't want credit for the moat.
"For some reason, everybody wanted to retain that moat," he said. "I never liked it, but we have a moat."
Despite his personal feelings, Guffee said the moat is reminiscent of the old dugouts that used to dot the plains of West Texas.
Guffee is looking forward to his free time, although he isn't real sure how he will spend it. His wife, Patti, who serves as the assistant curator, will continue to work. Guffee plans on taking things easy for a while and seeing what comes up. One of his hobbies is restoring old cars with his brother-in-law, a hobby he hasn't been working at too long, but he has a 1942 jeep in his garage to show for it. Guffee said he also plans to continue his archeological work and study and may even consider doing some consulting work on the side.