Meet the staff of the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Curator Emma Hansen and Assistant Curator Rebecca West.
Emma I. Hansen serves as Senior Curator of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and Curator of the Plains Indian Museum. Her degrees include a M.A. in Sociology and a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. She is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation.
Hansen’s early professional experiences include university teaching and museum positions in Oklahoma. She was Assistant Curator of Ethnology and Archaeology at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History where she was project director for three traveling exhibitions developed in collaboration with the Apache and the Wichita tribes of Oklahoma.
At the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Hansen has developed several exhibitions and programs related to Plains Indian arts and cultures. She was co-curator of Powerful Images: Portrayals of Native America, which traveled to eight museums in the United States and Canada in 1998 – 2000. She served as curator and manager of the reinterpretation of the Plains Indian Museum—completed in 2000 for which the Museum received an Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History in recognition of the institution’s role as a national model in the interpretation of Native cultures and histories.
Hansen has authored numerous articles and papers presented at national and international conferences. She has received several grants and fellowships including a Ford Foundation Grant for Native Americans and Newberry Library and American Philosophical Society research fellowships as well as grants from National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, and from private arts and cultural foundations. She has served as an officer and on the boards of Council for Museum Anthropology, Native American Art Studies Association, and the Wyoming Humanities Council. Her current projects include research on Plains village traditions and on the recently acquired Paul Dyck collection. Her book, Memory and Vision: Arts, Cultures and Lives of Plains Indian People was published by the University of Washington Press in 2007.
Rebecca West is assistant curator for the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. She holds a BA in art history from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma. West develops and participates in outreach activities, and conducts collections-related research with emphasis on educating the public and advancing knowledge of Plains Indian cultures. She manages the care, storage, and exhibition of the Plains Indian collections and assists with the Center’s permanent and special exhibitions, as well as publications and programs. West is currently involved with accessioning, re-housing, and researching the Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection.