Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cody's Buffalo Bill Center of the West provides returns, surprises time after time


The Buffalo Bill Center of the West draws an international clientele to Cody, Wyo.  It houses five  fine museums.
A painting of  Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill Cody is one of the most
admired and talked about in the Whitney Western Art Museum.

FOR DECADES now, I've enjoyed the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. It's a road trip highlight with family, friends or visitors from other states and countries..
For years, this stunning complex of five museums, was known as the Buffalo Bill Museum.  In our nearby town of Cody, Wyoming,
One doesn't have to be a gun aficionado to appreciate Cody's Firearms Museum.
IF YOU'RE a fan of art of the West, you'll enjoy my favorite of the quintet of museums, the Whitney Western Art Museum. You'll see a majestic Deborah Butterfield bronze horse, a stunning collection of western paintings ranging from Albert Bierstadt to N.C. Wyeth, with everything in between.  There are fun, recent paintings and sculpture, too, besides the time honored portfolio of artists who joined in and promoted the western expansion effort, or who simply came to know and love the west through visits as tourists.
I ALWAYS discover something new, and revisit favorite pieces.
The famous painting of the Custer Battle, whose anniversary is this week, always has people around it.   Did you know that painter Edgar  Samuel Paxson arrived in Montana in 1877, the year after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, to begin his prodigious research?
The painter's interest in the battle -- almost an obsession -- would become a defining element in his artistic career, culminating in his major work, "Custer’s Last Stand."
You may not realize that the Center of the West contains five museums plus a world renowned research library.
The Plains Indian Museum has a world-class collection of artifacts.

Edgar Paxson's famously detailed  painting of the Custer Battle
Besides the Whitney, the Draper Natural History Museum showcases the rich life, power and beauty of the natural world of the Yellowstone region.  The Plains Indian Museum's elegant and elaborate collection depicts in beautifully curated displays the lives and legends of the Plains Indian people, and the Buffalo Bill Museum explores the world of the man after whom the town of Cody, and the museum, are named.
THE CODY  Firearms Museum is a must for anyone interested in guns, the lore of firearms and their importance in history.
 Cody's shoot-out  attracts those looking for corny but
entertaining, old-west fun, each night by the Irma Hotel.
The museum houses the world's most comprehensive collection of American firearms. In 1975, the Winchester Arms Collection, the heart of this museum, came to Cody on loan from the Olin Corporation. It was hugely received and gifted in 1988, enjoyed by thousands since. The museum houses 7,000 firearms with 30,000 firearms-related artifacts. A gun lover's paradise to be sure.
IF YOU'RE planning a trip to Cody, Wyo., take note of these upcoming special museum events:
Buffalo Bill Invitational Shootout, Aug. 6-8; Rendezvous Royale, Sept. 21-26,; Patrons Ball, Sept.26; Holiday Open House, Dec. 5.
The Fishtail General Store is an institution in the tiny town of Fishtail, Montana.
COMING UP: Grab the gang and head for Fishtail Family Fun Days, a real kick in the pants. It's this Saturday, June 27, in Fishtail, Montana. We preview it, plus examine just what makes Cody, Wyo., such a fun town? The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, of course, is the centerpiece, but there's much more -- including the nightly "shoot-out" at the Irma, a fantastic restaurant, The Local, and 90 straight nights of rodeo. Plus horses, horses, horses, fun shopping and a plush library. Meanwhile, if you're anywhere near Fishtail Saturday, stop by the Fishtail General Store, headquarters for fun, food and a two-mile long, parade. Not bad for a one-block town. Plus bakery, crafts, kids events and more. Check us out Wednesdays and weekends at www.whereiscookie.com



  1. Thanks for this insightful piece about a national treasure, the Cody museum. Was not aware of the name change -- but we have long enjoyed this spectacular complex. Yes, one needs two days to do it justice. Looking forward to the next story about Cody being a fun town. Indeed. We love your American West!

  2. Pat and Pete of PittsburghJune 26, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    We never miss the Buffalo Bill museum complex. Amazing to find this calibre of facility in a small western town (or a small town anywhere.) Enjoyable reporting and fine photos.