How can I support the Alamo?

Alamo grounds and operations are managed by Alamo Complex Management, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. By purchasing a guided or private tour, visiting the gift shop, or making a donation, you help support preservation efforts and share the story of the Alamo with generations to come. Learn more about how you can support the future of the Alamo at www.alamoendowment.org

Why is the Long Barrack closed?

The Long Barrack is closed because it is undergoing important preservation work to ensure that it is around for future generations. After all, it is almost 300 years old.

When will the Long Barrack re-open?

The Long Barrack will re-open as soon as it is possible to do so without compromising the preservation work.

Where are the artifacts that were on display in the Long Barrack?

These items and others from the Alamo Collection, are on display in the Alamo Special Exhibition Hall.

Why are the Long Barrack and the Church important?

These two structures are some of the oldest buildings in Texas. They date back to the early Spanish settlement and mission era. These buildings are the only two that remain from the 1836 Battle of the Alamo.

Will the public get updates on the preservation work in the Long Barrack?

Yes. As preservation work continues, the public will have opportunities to experience the thrill of a live dig site, as our team of archaeologists and engineers unearth history. Visitors will be able to see real-time preservation work on one of the oldest buildings in Texas, which promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Is photography or videography permitted inside the historic buildings, like the Church and the Long Barrack?

Photography is not permitted inside the Alamo Church or the Long Barrack.

WHEN AND WHY WAS THE ALAMO BUILT?

The Alamo was built as one of five Spanish missions in what is today San Antonio, in 1718. It moved to its current site in 1724. Its original name was Mission San Antonio de Valero, but it has been called the Alamo since 1803. The Alamo and the other four San Antonio missions were established to extend Spain’s influence in the New World, to found a city, and to bring Christianity to the native populations.

WHERE DID THE ALAMO GET ITS NAME?

When the Alamo was first built in 1718, it was called Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission moved once and then again to its current site in 1724. It remained a mission until the Catholic Church secularized it in 1793. Historical research and records from 1718 to 1793 refer to the Alamo by that former name, Mission San Antonio de Valero. In 1803, a military unit from Alamo de Parras occupied the former mission compound and fortified it. That unit came to be known simply as the Alamo unit, and the former mission was then called the Alamo. The Alamo has kept that name since 1803. The heroic stand and battle on March 6, 1836 cemented the Alamo’s place in Texas, American and world history. Today the Alamo name and its iconic façade are recognized worldwide.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ALAMO AND ITS BATTLEFIELD AFTER THE BATTLE ON MARCH 6, 1836?

The Battle of the Alamo began shortly before dawn on March 6 and lasted about 90 minutes. After the battle was over, Santa Anna ordered the bodies of the Defenders to be taken outside the fort and burned. Santa Anna took some of the units under his command to pursue Gen. Sam Houston’s forces to the south, leaving a sizeable force behind to occupy the Alamo. Gen. Houston led the Texians’ and Tejanos’ shocking victory at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, winning Texas’ independence from Mexico. Santa Anna was captured the next day, and as a condition of his surrender he ordered his forces to retreat from Texas. He also ordered the forces he had left behind at the Alamo to destroy its walls and fortifications. Though the Alamo was later used as a military depot, its 1836 fortifications were never rebuilt. Today, just two structures survive from the battle. They are the iconic Church and the Long Barrack. All other structures were added long after the battle. Today, the battlefield itself is under Alamo Plaza and Alamo Street, and several buildings also occupy parts of it.

ARE YOU RENAMING THE ALAMO?

Of course not. The Alamo has been called the Alamo since 1803, and it will always be called the Alamo. There was never any proposal to change its name at any point during the master plan process. It was called Mission San Antonio de Valero from 1718 to 1793, which was about 75 years. It has been called the Alamo since 1803, which is well over 200 years.

WHAT IS THE ALAMO MASTER PLAN?

The Alamo master plan is actually two things. First, it is the deepest and most comprehensive study of the Alamo’s history that has ever been done. The master plan studied the Alamo from its first construction in 1718 to the present, noting the key events and many structural changes that have occurred on the site over that time. Second, the master plan establishes key concepts to preserve the Alamo and guide future efforts to recapture its 1836 Battlefield and tell its story better than ever before. Those key concepts are:

  1. Restoration of the Church and Long Barracks.
  2. Reestablishing clarity and order through the delineation of the historic footprint.
  3. Recapture the Historic Mission Plaza and create a sense of reverence and respect on the historic battlefield.
  4. Repurpose the Crockett, Woolworth and Palace buildings into a world-class visitor center and museum that tells the story of the Battle of the Alamo and over 300 years of layered history.
  5. Create a sense of arrival to the site and enhance connectivity between the site and other public spaces.
WHY DOES THE ALAMO NEED PRESERVATION?

The Alamo and Long Barrack are the only two structures that survive from the battle in 1836. They are the most important artifacts on the most important historic site in Texas. They are irreplaceable. If we lose them, we lose them forever. Both structures are quite old, and suffer from the effects of their age, the elements and of course the battle itself. Rising damp and the effects of the traffic on Alamo Street are both major issues that must be addressed. The traffic on Alamo Street, for instance, sends vibrations through the ground that are literally causing the Alamo Church to crumble every day. The Alamo needs significant ongoing repair and preservation work to ensure that it stands not just 300 years, but 3,000 and more years from now. The Alamo master plan provides a path toward this vital preservation.

DO THE PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION PLANS DIMINISH THE 1836 BATTLE?

Of course not. The 1836 Battle is central to future plans. It is the event that defines the Alamo’s role in history. It will be, by far, the largest exhibit in the new museum and will always be the central story. The plan will tell the 1836 story through compelling exhibits and living history programs, and in the Alamo. We’ve grown our Living History program to more than a dozen staff and volunteers who bring 1836 to life at the Alamo every single day. By delineating the battlefield and recapturing it from under the streets and plaza, we will also be able to create an outdoor museum dedicated to telling the Alamo’s story bigger and better than ever before.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE ALAMO WALLS AND THE HISTORIC 1836 FOOTPRINT?

The main goals of the Alamo master plan are to preserve and protect the Alamo Church and Long Barrack and recapture the 1836 Battlefield. Alamo staff and museum interpretation and exhibit specialists will make recommendations on options for a perimeter that honors the Alamo’s history and ensures the safety of the Alamo and her visitors. The proposed plan reclaims as much of the Battlefield footprint as possible so that visitors can better understand what the Alamo was like at the time of the Battle.

BUT I HEARD THE ALAMO WOULD BE SURROUNDED BY PLEXIGLASS!

No. Plexiglas was never proposed and no wall design has been approved in the final Master Plan. Many people have expressed that they prefer no walls, and the structural glass wall concept was very unpopular.

WILL THE MASTER PLAN TURN THE ALAMO INTO A THEME PARK?

No! It will become MORE respectful and dignified. The current “carnival-like” and “commercial” atmosphere in front of the Alamo will become a place of reverence, dignity, and respect to commemorate the Battle of 1836 and those who died fighting for Texas’ Independence. To make this possible, the General Land Office purchased the buildings across the street from the Alamo, and the plan calls for closing the streets so the 1836 Battlefield can be recaptured and used for Living History exhibits and to allow visitors to Remember the Alamo. Most visitors don’t realize they’re driving on top of the 1836 Battlefield when they drive in front of the Alamo. We’re working to recapture the sacred Battlefield, and restore it to more closely resemble what it would have looked like at the time of the Battle.

WHAT IS THE CENOTAPH?

Cenotaph means “empty tomb.” It is the 60-foot high granite and marble structure that stands on Alamo Plaza just west of the Long Barrack. The Cenotaph was built as a monument to the Alamo Defenders, whose bodies were burned south and east of the fort after the battle. It was commissioned in 1936 for the Texas Centennial and finished in 1940. The Cenotaph was placed on the 1836 Battlefield, but its placement there does not mark any specific event or moment of the battle.

WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE CENOTAPH?

The Cenotaph will always stand to honor the Alamo Defenders, as it has since 1940. The City of San Antonio owns the Cenotaph (which means “empty tomb”) and plans to repair and restore the monument, as well as add the names of additional Defenders who were unknown when the Cenotaph was erected. Discussion is ongoing regarding where the Cenotaph will be located once restoration work is complete. One proposal is to leave it in its current place, on the 1836 Battlefield. While the City of San Antonio has made no final decision on the Cenotaph’s future location, what is certain is the monument will be repaired, and it will always stand to honor the Alamo Defenders.

WHERE DID THE STATE AND NATIONAL FLAGS, BATTLE ARTIFACTS, PLAQUES GO?

They are where they have been for decades. Some items were temporarily moved to allow historic preservation work to be done on the walls. As work is completed, the items have been returned.

WILL BATTLE ARTIFACTS BE CONFINED TO A BASEMENT?

No. The Master Plan proposes a 100,000+ square foot museum that will be home to hundreds of Alamo artifacts including the spectacular Phil Collins collection featuring David Crockett’s rifle and James Bowie’s knife. It will also include a theatre featuring a film about this beloved Texas site, the 13 Day Siege, and the Battle of 1836. The Battle of the Alamo is and will always be the heart of the story, as that moment defines the Alamo and Texas itself.

AREN’T YOU CREATING A “FREE SPEECH ZONE” TO RESTRICT WHERE CITIZENS CAN EXERCISE THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS

No. The plan removes the current “free speech zone” from Alamo Plaza — in the heart of the 1836 Battlefield — to an area outside of where the walls once stood, further restoring dignity and reverence to this sacred ground. See the photos below. These all happened and continue to happen on the battlefield, which is under the streets and plaza west of the Alamo Church and Long Barrack. The plan would move activities such as these to south Alamo Plaza, just off the battlefield. Additionally, San Antonio has many other public spaces for protest, including Main Plaza. Additionally, having protests on a historic site where students come to learn about the Alamo poses a real safety risk.

Alamo Plaza Free Speech Zone

DOES THE UNITED NATIONS HAVE ANY ROLE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE ALAMO?

No! Not now, not ever. The Alamo, along with four other Spanish-era missions in San Antonio, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. The effort to earn the designation spanned nine years, and was approved and supported by former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Download the letter signed by Commissioner Jerry Patterson. The UNESCO designation has nothing to do with management of the Alamo.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT THE ALAMO AND THE LONG BARRACK?

The Alamo Church and Long Barrack are the only structures that survive from the 1836 battle. They are the most important historic artifacts in Texas. This year we will begin the process to preserve and protect them so that future generations can learn about the history of the Alamo, the 1836 Battle, and the history of Texas independence. The Alamo Church and Long Barrack are in desperate need of structural repair. Centuries of heat, rain, and elements have taken a toll.

WHO MANAGES THE ALAMO? WHAT ABOUT TRANSPARENCY?

The Texas Legislature and then-Gov. Rick Perry designated the Texas General Land Office the custodian of the Alamo in 2011. The GLO owns and manages the Alamo on behalf of the people of Texas. The GLO is a leader in abiding by all applicable laws concerning government transparency. All of the Alamo planning and preservation contracts have been with the GLO, and are posted on the agency’s website. The Alamo Endowment Board, first constituted in 2009 by then-Commissioner Patterson and then reconstituted in 2015 by Commissioner Bush, operates as a private 501(c)(3) and posts its financial records with GuideStar.com. GuideStar rates the Alamo Endowment Board as “Transparent.” Anyone can download GuideStar’s report at any time.