On October 25, 1978, thirty four Border Patrol Inspectors met in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the meeting of that visionary group was to establish an organization which they named the “Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officers” (FORBPO). In addition to the establishment of FORBPO, these officers envisioned a National Border Patrol Museum. The institution that they envisioned would be charged with the collection, preservation, and display of Border Patrol artifacts and history.
In 1979, a mail-in vote of the new FORBPO membership approved the creation of a National Border Patrol Museum, and the collection of artifacts began. A year later, on August 4, 1980, the Secretary of State for the State of Texas issued a Certificate of Incorporation Number 527890-1. This certificate identified the Museum as a tax exempt entity under Section 501 C (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
On October 1, 1985, the National Border Patrol Museum opened its doors in the basement of the old Cortez building in downtown El Paso, Texas. The museum operated out of this humble facility until 1992 when it was closed due to a dispute with the landlord. Following the closure, the Museum property was stored until the new Museum was built in 1994.
The Museum trustees located approximately 2 acres of land belonging to the city in northeast El Paso, and worked out the details of a lease. Through the support and generosity of FORBPO members, the Anthony L. Oneto American Legion Post 812, several large individual contributors and the public, construction began on a building with 10,000 square feet of interior space.
By February 1994, construction on the building was finished. The building was paid for and was lien free. It has remained free of debt since its inception and pursuant to its lease agreement, has never charged an admission fee. In April 1994, the Museum opened its doors to the public. A total of 11,701 individuals visited the Museum during that first year at its new location.
As it has evolved over the last 30 years the Museum has become the proud repository for memorabilia and memories of more than 80 years of Border Patrol history. It would be impossible to list the many who have volunteered literally thousands of hours to insure that the intent of the Museum as expressed by the original founding officers be fulfilled.