Sunday, June 20, 2010

Buffalo Bill Historical Center

For $28 we spent two days and wandered through five different museums, all in the same building.  The Buffalo Bill Historical Center consists of the Plains Indian People museum, the Western Art center, the Firearms musuem, the Buffalo Bill and the American West museum and the Nature of Yellowstone museum.  In addition, there are outdoor gardens with sculptures, but true to our luck, because of the monster winds we had this week the gardens were closed due to downed and "loose" trees per one of the staff members.  I swear, this year we are bringing weather weirdness wherever we wander (and say THAT five times fast!)

If you love Remington, Russell, cowboys, Native Americans, history and the West, this is the place to come for some serious culture immersion.  The artwork here is phenomenal and there was a special exhibit this week called "Splendid Heritage: Perspectives on American Indian Art" along with an exhibit of Gertrude Kasebier's photographs of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors that wonderfully expressed the pride and dignity of the Native Americans who were part of Buffalo Bill's show.  

I could go on and on about the historical center because the exhibits are wonderfully showcased, well researched and thoughtfully laid out.  I have to admit, Denny and I passed on the firearms museum which appears to be huge, because guns don't interest us to the extent of spending an hour or so looking at them.  That section also appeared to have the rifles and pistols very artfully displayed and of course a lot of people headed that way.  This weekend the town of Cody also hosted the Winchester Gun Show, as well as a Powwow and a bead show, so there's no end of places to go and things to see in this town.  And we didn't even wander the town of Cody with its little bars, jewelry, boot, clothing and cowboy stores, along with restaurants, rafting trip shops and other places to explore since we have no room for souvenirs and the nifty stuff I'm sure I would have found (hey, I can always find a piece of jewelry I admire!).

Here are a few pictures, starting with me and Buffalo Bill himself. 

A display of Native American headdresses.

This bronze by Remington called "Coming Through the Rye" fascinated me due to the fact that the first horse has NO feet on the ground.  Remington pushed the envelope at having as few of the horses feet on the ground and still have a balanced piece of sculpture. Clicking on the picture will enlarge it.

Plains Indians would create an artifical curbing with large stones leading to the edge a cliff and then chase a herd of bison towards the cliff.  The first bison would see the edge and attempt to turn back but the force of the bison racing forward would push them over the edge en masse.  It was the Indians way of harvesting a large number of bison at one time and this sculpture captures that event.

Called the Redick saddle after its designer, this saddle has 100 ounces of silver inlaid in it and weighs about 105 pounds.

A Plains Indian beaded saddle.  Big difference from the one pictured above, huh?

Native American bead work on bandolier bags.

A more modern interpretation of cowboys entitled "Lookin' for the Whajamajigger".

The  Nature of Yellowstone section has a lot of great information about wildlife that is native to the area with well-mounted examples of birds and mammals on display in simulated "natural" settings.  It is very kid-friendly with hands on activities, many recordings of animal, reptile and bird sounds and imparts a lot of information in a way that isn't preachy-teachy.  And yes, I know that's not a word, but you get the idea. But the displays are for adults also and again, the staff has done a great job at displaying and effectively getting the information across to its audience.

The RV Vagabonds definitely gives the Buffalo Bill Historical Center a big two thumbs up.

1 comment:

Gloria said...

I give it a two thumbs up as well. What a great museum. I loved that bead work. Excellent. Great pictures.

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