Collections from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center are featured in traveling exhibitions throughout America and the world. We are proud to share our extraordinary collections with our peer institutions. Here is a sampling of exhibitions we’re sharing “beyond our walls.”
The American West is a remarkable and storied place—both the real, history-baked landscape and the “Wild West” that lives in the world’s imagination. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is one of the best destinations in the world to learn about every side of the West. From October 2011 – early March 2012, the Center shared masterworks from our extraordinary collections with Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee.
Native Americans and cowboys, landscape, technology, history, art, and, of course, Buffalo Bill—make up the stories of the American West. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West toured Nashville and several other cities in Tennessee in the late 1800s. Cheekwood was excited to reintroduce its audiences to Buffalo Bill and the world-traveling Wild West.
In truth there’s almost no end to the ferocity of this place, a wildness that tugs and shapes everyone who spends any amount of time here, on occasion wrenching them into something bigger than life itself. – Gary Ferguson*
The year 2005 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Thorofare cabin, the center of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s backcountry outpost lying in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—the most remote spot in the lower forty-eight states. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center celebrated this milestone with the exhibition, A Place Called Thorofare: People, Wilderness & Wildlife Management.
Through historical and contemporary photography, the exhibition explores the spectacular Thorofare region, the cabin and its builders, and those who have used the outpost to help conserve wildlands and wildlife in this unique place. Since 1955, the outpost has been used for landmark wildlife research, monitoring, and management of grizzly, elk, wolf, and numerous other species. Historical images from our Jack Richard Collection and stunning contemporary photography by Historical Center staff are complemented by objects from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
This exhibition has since appeared at other museums in the Yellowstone region
*Quoted in Gary Ferguson, Hawks Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Adventure Press, 2003), p xvii.
A loan of several objects from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center augmented an exhibition at Coe Hall of Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay, New York, for six months in 2011.
Buffalo Bill, Wyoming, and the Coe Family was inspired by the experiences of the original owner of Planting Fields, William Robertson Coe, who first visited Wyoming in 1908 to hunt big game. There he met the internationally famous William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. So began Coe’s passion for the West. In 1910, Coe purchased one of Cody’s ranches—the Carter Ranch on Lake Irma. The Coe family spent summers there through the 1940s. Coe was a founding trustee of the Historical Center.
The exhibition explored Buffalo Bill’s key role in transforming the historical West into the idea of the ‘western’ in show business and the movies. It followed his career from army scout and buffalo hunter to stage actor and then legendary creator of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. The exhibition included several loans from the Historical Center, including a shirt and gauntlets worn by Cody in the Wild West show. Other items loaned included a shotgun owned by sharpshooter Annie Oakley, saddles, and a Louis Maurer painting of Buffalo Bill.
Smithsonian’s International Gallery, S. Dillon Ripley Center
April 10 – August 8, 2011
An exhibition of the portraits of American Indian performers from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West that debuted in 2010 at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center spent spring 2011 at the Smithsonian’s International Gallery.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors: Photographs by Gertrude Käsebier was produced jointly by the Photographic History Collection at the National Museum of American History and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Wild West Warriors features 60 original platinum and gum-bichromate photographs, printed from the original glass negatives; pictograph drawings made by the Sioux while at Käsebier’s studio; historic camera and studio equipment; and other items representing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West from collections at the Smithsonian and the Buffalo Historical Center. The exhibition was curated by Michelle Anne Delaney, who did much of her research about the Indians of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West as a fellow with the Historical Center’s Cody Institute for Western American Studies in 2009. She served as curator of the Photographic History Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and is now curator of the Division of Culture and the Arts at NMAH.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Warriors appeared at the Historical Center April 10 through August 8, 2010.
The Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, New York
February 18 – May 15, 2011
In Spring 2011, a dozen objects from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s extraordinary Plains Indian artifact collections were part of an exhibition on the East Coast that told the story of the tipi, the center of Plains culture and social, religious, and creative traditions from the early nineteenth century to the present.
The objects, on loan to the Brooklyn Museum in New York for their special exhibition Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains, included tipi storage bags, a woman’s saddle and stirrups, horn spoons, a cradle, parfleche trunk, and the intricately beaded vest shown here. Tipi examined the tipi as an architectural form, an expression of Plains artistic and cultural identity, and an interior space for domestic and ritual use. The exhibition was organized by a collaborative team of Native and non-Native curators, scholars, and artists under the direction of Nancy B. Rosoff, the Andrew W. Mellon Curator for Arts of the Americas at the Brooklyn Museum; and Susan Kennedy Zeller, PhD, the museum’s Associate Curator for Native American Art. The exhibition was sponsored by American Express. Generous support was provided by the Barbara and Richard Debs Exhibition Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bay and Paul Foundations.
Traverse the natural history of the Greater Yellowstone region on an interactive trail.
Yellowstone has always inspired artists as well as scientists and nature lovers. See the nature of Yellowstone through art.
Explore the history, culture, and arts of Plains Indian peoples.
The firearm is integrally tied to the story of the history and culture of the West.