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.