Buffalo Bill Historical Center - 2008 . . .
on our route to the Pacific Northwest

Updated: 11/30/08


The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is on Cody, Wyoming.





a f0810wcc2_100 bronze handshake_1.jpg (76292 bytes)Walking from the RV parking lot, you pass this bronze of two cowboys shaking hands. Many deals were settled with a handshake.


Point of information . . .The RV parking lot is behind the building which has no rear entrance. If someone in your party has difficulty walking, drop them off at the front door prior to parking.

        The Code of the West


The center is organized into five sections (museums) - Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Cody Firearms Museum and the Draper Museum of Natural History. The McCracken Research Library is also housed in this facility.


a f0809wcc_114 lobby_1.JPG (42382 bytes)a f0809wcc_112 lobby_1.JPG (39821 bytes)You may be wondering why buffalo and a 1957 Chevy are in the same lobby. The Chevy is being raffled off, the buffalo  'live' there permanently.

Some art pieces were displayed in the balcony - wheels of buffalos rotating continuously and a horse by an artist known to make her pieces out of 'junk'. This horse is made from drift wood.

      a f0809wcc_117 buffalo rotating_1.JPG (32257 bytes)   a f0809wcc_119 horse scraps_1.JPG (43094 bytes)



Our fist visit was to the Buffalo Bill Museum.

As we walked through the museum, we discovered that William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was quite an entrepreneur.

a f0809wcc_193 poster_1.JPG (53614 bytes)He introduced the people to what living in the West was all about. He took his show on the road. Posters advertised his shows.



 a f0809wcc_171 poster_1.JPG (33230 bytes)

a f0809wcc_151 bit pat'd by cody_1.jpg (22960 bytes)He patented this bit.





He opened the Irma hotel in Cody to serve people coming to Yellowstone National Park on the train.  The hotel was named after his daughter.








a f0809wcc_130 pony exp_1.jpg (56842 bytes)One display included a pony express saddle that was unique to us.

The mail service fee was rather steep - 25 cents for a half an ounce.


   a f0809wcc_131 pony exp saddle_1.JPG (38450 bytes)   a f0809wcc_129 pony exp saddle_1.JPG (31327 bytes)





a f0809wcc_132 coat russian furs_1.JPG (29372 bytes)Buffalo Bill was know around the country and the world. He received many gifts.

This coat is made from Russian furs.


The revolver has hand engraved ivory grips.

 a f0809wcc_149 revolver_1.jpg (38575 bytes)      


 a f0809wcc_222 bracelet_1.JPG (31577 bytes)These 67 charms were presented to Irma Cody, his daughter, by the cast of the Wild West Show.







a f0809wcc_148 fur blanket_1.jpg (54638 bytes)This blanket was a gift to Wild Bill, the star design is created using various animal pelts found in Russia.









a f0809wcc_145 display_1.JPG (27874 bytes)There were many exhibits depicting the way of life in the West.

a f0809wcc_172 video_1.JPG (30419 bytes)   a f0809wcc_173 history_1.JPG (40239 bytes)

        a f0809wcc_236 furniture_1.JPG (41740 bytes)   a f0809wcc_238 dresses_1.JPG (36943 bytes)


a f0809wcc_235 wild bill hickok_1.JPG (31108 bytes)
Fred remembers watching Wild Bill Hickok on TV.
The real guy doesn't look like the TV hero.




a f0809wcc_157 typical cowboy eq_1.JPG (36380 bytes)This is the cowboy's standard equipment.







Some items on display were not period pieces. One example is this 1996 foosball table.  


a f0809wcc_204 foozball_1.JPG (48999 bytes)   a f0809wcc_203 foozball_1.JPG (45331 bytes)   



In this era they did not have recreational vehicles - not much free time available. But, this sure looks like the start of an the RV industry. This one was used as housing for a sheep herder until 1950.


a f0809wcc_209 rv_1.JPG (42869 bytes)   a f0809wcc_210 rv_1.JPG (42218 bytes)


a f0809wcc_215 rv sheep wagon_1.JPG (31063 bytes)   a f0809wcc_211 rv_1.JPG (42623 bytes)   a f0809wcc_214 rv_1.JPG (35003 bytes)




a f0809wcc_189 saddle in glass_1.JPG (41507 bytes)a f0809wcc_160 saddles in glass_1.JPG (35366 bytes)Now called 'parade saddles', these saddles were under glass.


One saddle was available for kids of all ages to try out.

a f0809wcc_162 saddle for testing_1.JPG (44842 bytes)




The buffalo - or - the American Bison . . .

a f0809wcc_219 buffalo_1.JPG (35436 bytes)         



A chuck wagon was on display.

a f0809wcc_163 chuck wagon_1.JPG (44108 bytes)   a f0809wcc_165 chuck wagon_1.JPG (47593 bytes) 




a f0809wcc_166 stagecoach_1.JPG (41621 bytes)This stagecoach may have been equipped with an early style odometer. The odometer was strapped to a wheel. By counting the number of revolutions, the number of miles traveled could be calculated. 

            a f0809wcc_139 odometer 1870_1.JPG (33238 bytes)   a f0809wcc_140 odometer 1870_1.JPG (38318 bytes) 




a f0809wcc_169 women_1.jpg (35509 bytes)Bill Cody was know for his support of women. His wife was also an entrepreneur keeping her business ventures in her name because Bill's would sometimes succeed, sometimes go bust.  







As he got older he gave up horseback as a way of transportation for a buggy.   The items that look like Christmas tree glass ornaments are actually targets for shotgun practice. Today, people use clay "pigeons".


a f0809wcc_242 cody_1.JPG (34807 bytes)   a f0809wcc_245 wagon_1.JPG (48182 bytes)   a f0809wcc_248 wagon_1.JPG (50596 bytes)   a f0809wcc_181 target balls_1.JPG (31642 bytes)



  a f0809wcc_252 mason_1.jpg (32026 bytes) 

He was a Mason. A fraternity to which many of our founding fathers belonged. Masonic members continue to do good works for people today.

   a f0809wcc_249 mason_1.JPG (29916 bytes)   a f0809wcc_250 mason_1.JPG (30581 bytes)   




a f0809wcc_256 guns_1.JPG (37132 bytes)The Cody Firearms Museum included a large collection of guns - guns of all descriptions. The collection covered the evolution of firearms.

There were 1,500 firearms on the main level and another 1,200 on a lower level. Some types we had never seen before.

a f0809wcc_302 guns_1.JPG (37465 bytes)



One collector donated guns from TV and movies. Guns from Ponderosa and Annie Oakley, to name a couple.


a f0809wcc_257 guns_1.JPG (45752 bytes)   a f0809wcc_259 guns anny oakley_1.JPG (35995 bytes)



Wheellocks . .  . 


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Blunderbuss . . .


a f0809wcc_273 guns blunderbuss_1.JPG (34517 bytes)


a f0809wcc_276 guns_1.JPG (22682 bytes)
A small gun . . .



Pistols with > > >  Two hammers and one barrel - Two hammers and two barrels - One hammer two barrels.

a f0809wcc_281 guns_1.JPG (26538 bytes)   a f0809wcc_283 guns_1.JPG (25651 bytes)   a f0809wcc_285 guns_1.jpg (38390 bytes)



Revolver rifle and a revolver pistol . . .


a f0809wcc_286 guns revolving rifle_1.JPG (28905 bytes)   a f0809wcc_289 guns_1.JPG (36482 bytes)



A windlass crossbow . . .            

a f0809wcc_300 guns windlass crossbow_1.JPG (36178 bytes)      


A rifle with a cartridge catching bag . . .

   a f0809wcc_304 guns caught casings_1.JPG (33006 bytes)


a f0809wcc_307 gun water cooled_1.JPG (40677 bytes)
A water cooled machine gun . . .



Every collection has to have a Gatling gun . . . 

a f0809wcc_309 gun gatling_1.JPG (41242 bytes)



A cartridge loading machine was on display.


a f0809wcc_327 loading machine_1.JPG (49667 bytes)   a f0809wcc_330 loading workers_1.jpg (46821 bytes)




This BB gun in the middle is like the one Fred used as a child. He shot many a toy soldier standing in a cardboard box in his parent's basement.  


a f0809wcc_332 gun bb_1.JPG (40843 bytes)   a f0809wcc_333 gun bb_1.JPG (31619 bytes)




a f0809wcc_341 gun gold in_1.JPG (35436 bytes)a f0809wcc_226 rifle engraved_1.JPG (53662 bytes)The display of engraved and gold inlayed guns reminded Fred of a friend who he knew years ago that did hand engraving and as a hobby decorated guns. 






As we walked through the Embellished Arms Gallery, a guy told us his rifle was just put on display the week before. He proudly pointed out his rifle and posed for a photograph.


a f0809wcc_343 gun owner_1.JPG (32063 bytes)   a f0809wcc_344 gun owner_1.JPG (26594 bytes)   a f0809wcc_345 gun owner_1.JPG (34554 bytes)




The Whitney Gallery of Western Art was very nice. It is a collection of paintings and bronze sculptures that is outstanding.


a f0809wcc_421 art_1.JPG (27735 bytes)   a f0809wcc_428 art_1.JPG (32269 bytes)    a f0809wcc_363 art_1.JPG (29074 bytes)



Beautiful paintings . . .


a f0809wcc_422 art dance_1.jpg (52779 bytes)      a f0809wcc_368 buffalo drive_1.JPG (41023 bytes)


a f0809wcc_373 art_1.JPG (38097 bytes)   a f0809wcc_378 art cowboys_1.jpg (43694 bytes)This black and white had exquisite detail.



a f0809wcc_437 art motherhood_1.jpg (39027 bytes)
Notice figure in top right corner of painting



Bead art . . .

a f0809wcc_387 bead work_1.JPG (40960 bytes)



Some exhibits displayed a sculpture from which the artist created the painting or vise versa.





They had a big display of Frederic Remington's work, including a recreation of his studio.


a f0809wcc_364 art_1.JPG (31248 bytes)   a f0809wcc_379 art studio_1.JPG (50687 bytes)   a f0809wcc_380 art studio_1.JPG (62140 bytes)   a f0809wcc_383 art_1.JPG (45211 bytes)



This sculpture of a cowboy giving his horse water actually had water dripping  . . .

a f0809wcc_416 art high n' dry_1.jpg (49092 bytes)



Painted sculpture of a stampede . . .




Our second visit to the museum was to see the childhood home of Buffalo Bill and the Plains Indian Museum. We should have allowed more time for the Plains Indian Museum.



a f0810wcc2_110 boyhood home_1.jpg (39134 bytes)Buffalo Bill's childhood home was located outside between the Buffalo Bill and Plains Indian museums. It is under development. There wasn't much to see inside. There were photographs of the house along the Mississippi during the period of Bill's childhood.





The Plains Indian Museum was well done.  Probably the best collection we have seen. There is an extensive collection of items from the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Shoshone and Sioux tribes. 









    a f0810wcc2_132 bead clothes_1.JPG (44057 bytes)
Bead work . . .



Clothing, both women and children's decorated with moose teeth demonstrated how successful the husband was in hunting.


a f0810wcc2_135 dress_1.JPG (47430 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_140 dress elk teeth_1.JPG (56476 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_160 dress girls_1.JPG (48805 bytes)



Exhibits of native apparel were frequent.a f0810wcc2_263 dress_1.JPG (45094 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_266 bead suit_1.JPG (39131 bytes)



Tipi . . .


a f0810wcc2_149 tipi_1.JPG (35419 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_146 tipi is_1.JPG (39601 bytes)



 Several exhibits included painted animal hides.


a f0810wcc2_179 hide painted_1.JPG (36600 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_233 robe m_1.JPG (33287 bytes)



Originally, dogs carried the packs as the families moved from place to place. Once horses were introduced, many Indian families traveled in this manner.


a f0810wcc2_175 papoose_1.JPG (35756 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_182 on trail_1.JPG (44434 bytes)                                  a f0810wcc2_241 woman on horse_1.JPG (49457 bytes)




a f0810wcc2_150 dish_1.JPG (19963 bytes)When Indians would gather for a feast, they always served their food in a beautiful carved dish. It usually had animal decorations. Each person provided their own carved spoon.






This headdress is beautiful.


a f0810wcc2_188 headdress_1.JPG (42771 bytes)



a f0810wcc2_164 hoop & arrow_1.JPG (45594 bytes)The hoop and arrow game is a lot like our dart game. Look at the colored scoring sections. It was used to teach hunting skills to boys.






A round room created like the inside of a woman's lodge was used for a video presentation of the women's role in the plains Indian culture.


a f0810wcc2_275 round room_1.JPG (32825 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_276 round roon_1.JPG (33479 bytes)




a f0810wcc2_194 military_1.jpg (30430 bytes)a f0810wcc2_270 education_1.jpg (39334 bytes)The Native Americans are very proud of the tribe members who are successful in the armed forced and pursuits of educational goals.









The government eventually expected Indians to moved into houses. 


a f0810wcc2_244 in a house_1.JPG (40034 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_247 cabin see thru_1.JPG (33456 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_250 cabin see thru_1.JPG (41794 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_258 cabin see thru_1.JPG (44103 bytes)
Did you notice that the exhibit permits you to look through the wall of the house? 



a f0810wcc2_211 sweat lodge_1.JPG (30958 bytes)

A sweat lodge . . .


Peace metals were given to the Indian chiefs when treaties were signed. 

   a f0810wcc2_216 peace_1.JPG (38034 bytes)      



A wide screen video of what life was like for the Plains Indians during the four seasons of the year.


a f0810wcc2_205 tipi camp_1.JPG (34973 bytes)   a f0810wcc2_199 tipi camp_1.JPG (34506 bytes)




This bear was located outside the building. There were many in Cody. They are being auctioned for charity after the tourist season. 


a f0809wcc_439 bear bee_1.JPG (64162 bytes)   a f0809wcc_441 bear bee_1.JPG (52410 bytes)   a f0809wcc_442 bear bee_1.JPG (66093 bytes)



The Buffalo Bill Historical Center offered a lot of history in the various museums under one roof. Admission was $15 (seniors $13) and included the day of purchase and the following day. They offered no discounts. We spent a total of about six hours but did not look at the natural history portion.



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