I couldn't be in Cody, Wyoming, and not spend time at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. My Bill would rather fish at Beck Lake, so he drops Tessa and I off at the entrance around 10 AM.
The $19 fee is good for two consecutive days, and is a great deal even for just one. Although I could easily have spent two full days here.
As much about quality as quantity, this is definitely one of the top three museums I've ever visited. The combination of visual, audio, and kinesthetic presentation in each exhibit is fascinating. The lay-out also allows for a large number of people to enjoy every area without it feeling crowded.
If there is one ding it would be that some of the audio overlaps between areas, making it sound garbled in places. In contrast, the visitors are all incredibly quiet and respectful of each other, which helps.
There are several ways to experience the center. You can join a guided tour twice a day, borrow their headphones and their handheld self-guide, borrow just the headphones and use your smart phone, your own headphones and smart phone, or just walk and read and watch. All options are free of additional charge. I choose the last one. Every narrated exhibit has a pedestal where you can read what is being said, and each small video booth is close-captioned. They seem to have thought of every accommodation to make the information available.
I start out in the Guns of the West section because it is first on the right. I soon tire of case after case of rifles that all look exactly alike. There are some unique and interesting pieces, like the long-rifles and a Teddy Roosevelt exhibit, but I soon lose interest and find my way back to the main hall.
|These look as long as a horse!|
|President T. Roosevelt's saddle, used on his ranch in the Dakota Badlands|
|Hand-scraped buffalo hide with Sun Dance Ceremony in the center of a buffalo hunt - approximately 1865|
|Two-story diorama with narrated video - beautifully done|
|Late 1800's saddle blanket|
|with exquisite bead work|
|This exhibit is Sanctuary, and even in the middle of a large museum the lodge evokes a wonderful feeling of home|
|It is very rare to see a Ghost Dance dress, worn for the most secret and sacred of ceremonies|
|Toy horse 1895-1898|
|Ceremonial artifacts with video of current Pow-wows|
|The Unknown stands in the garden|
|with many tribe members facing a new and uncertain future|
|Remington's New Rochelle, NY, studio|
|Most of his life's work, over 3000 pieces of art, were created in his studio|
|"A Post Office in Cow Country" originally painted as an illustration for Collier's Weekly, 1901|
|Tessa liked this one|
|One for Bill who loves snakes|
|By Wineid Reis in the early 1950's, I really like the detail and colors|
|The full-size Pioneer Woman by Alexander Proctor, was dedicated in Kansas City in 1925 before a record crowd of 30 thousand - wow!|
|A few modern offerings - including large balls of barbed wire (okay)|
|Generals famous for who they led rather than how they led|
|An impressive collection of over 200 volumes|
|Every cowgirl's hero|
|The Wild West Show covered over 250,000 miles in thirty years|
|including in Europe where Bill Cody was treated like royalty - by royalty|
|Cody's wagon used for personal trips to the TE Ranch|
|A small cabin holds the exhibit on the seismic reality that is Yellowstone - a bit unnerving|
|The large mosaic tile on the first floor is visible from all levels|
|The video on avalanches shows they are just as destructive|
|as wildfires - and that both create conditions for new growth|
|All of the animals here are absolutely beautiful|
|and are preserved on site at the Draper Lab - all specimens are acquired from collisions with vehicles or other accidents in the wild|
|This buffalo display is fascinating|
|I almost asked these "workers" a question :-)|
|Tessa-colored carpet makes her feel right at home.|
Friday is our last day in Cody and we plan to spend it outdoors.