Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cowboy Hall of Fame


That sums up how I felt about the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.  Much more than just a hall of fame, I could have easily spent two days here, but all we had was an afternoon.  Founded in 1955, the museum collects, preserves and displays artifacts and art that showcases the enduring legacy of the American West.  The museum is built on Persimmon Hill, called the Gateway to the West.  Historically, Indians camped here, hunted buffalo and lived peacefully.  According to a plaque on the grounds, from here on the grass becomes shorter, the streams clearer, the air more rare and the nights cooler.

When you first enter the museum, you are greeted with an enormous sculpture called The End of the Trail, sculpted by James Earle Fraser as a reminder of a childhood spent on the American frontier.

Turning right, walking toward the first of nine different galleries, another massive sculpture called Canyon Princess captures your eye. Sculpted from a single block of Colorado marble, it is twice life-sized and weighs 8 tons.

Madonnas of the Prairie is an exhibit of art depicting women in the American West.  No photos were allowed in this gallery. From Native Americans to cowgirls to pinups, the paintings were amazing and I wish I could have read the narrative that went along with each piece of art.  But we had 8 other galleries to go through, so onward we went!

Exhibitions included Native American Art, Art of the American West, Fine Firearms, Native American life, Western Performers, American Cowboy, Frontier West and American Rodeo.  Pictures were very hard to take because most things were behind glass, but I did manage a few.
From the Frontier West gallery, which showcased the military presence in the west.

Hunting in the American West

On the trail, in the American Cowboy gallery

Bucking bronco, from the American Rodeo gallery

Bunkhouse in the American Cowboy gallery

We took a break to have lunch in the museum restaurant, a full service restaurant with menu selections and a fabulous all-you-can-eat buffet.  Afterwards, we strolled the outdoor gardens.  The art on the grounds of the museum was just as impressive as what was inside.

Buffalo Bill can be seen from the interstate highway below.

Rear of museum from the Western States Plaza

A view of the gardens

A large rendition of Remington's Coming Through the Rye.  The original is displayed inside.

Paint Mare and Filly by Veryl Goodnight
Sentinels by Kent Ullberg

Waterfall in the garden, which also includes several animal gravesites of famous horses, steer and bulls.

And what American Cowboy venue would be complete without mention of John Wayne?  Did you know how he came to be called "the Duke?"  Firemen in his Glendale, CA neighborhood nicknamed him "Little Duke" after the family dog, Duke, when he was a teenager!  Betcha didn't know tha!

John Wayne

As I said at the beginning of the post, I could have easily spent two days touring this museum.  Anything and everything about the American West is represented here and, if you ever find yourself in Oklahoma City, make sure you set aside at least a little time to go here.  It is not to be missed.

Until next time....

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I enjoyed it when I was there but i'm sure they have added alot more.