On my return trip to Nevada after attending the Wyoming State Historical Society annual meeting, I passed through Cody, Wyoming, in order to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The center consists of five different museums. As you can see from this photo of the entrance, the day I spent there was blustery with intermittent rain and snow.
The Buffalo Bill Museum presents artifacts from the life of the great William F. Cody with an emphasis on “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.” Of particular interest in this museum is the large screen presentation of original motion picture film of the show itself.
The Plains Indians Museum contains a wealth of artifacts and information about the Northern Plains tribes. I was particularly interested in studying those items pertaining to the Sioux, the Arapahos, and the Cheyennes, because those tribes will feature predominantly in my next novel.
The Whitney Western Art Museum presents the works of famous western artists, such as Frederic Remington, George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, and N. C. Wyeth. It was of special interest for me to see works by Alfred Jacob Miller. I featured one of his paintings in Bear Claws, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book Two.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Draper Natural History Museum. The visitor can stand close to a grizzly bear and envision what it would be like to face one of these creatures in the wild. Will Braddock, or course had two run-ins with grizzlies in Bear Claws. I also wrote in a post on February 8, 2016, about the movie The Revenant, in which the character Hugh Glass was attacked by a grizzly.
I was fortunate to be in the Cody Firearms Museum when a member of the staff presented a fascinating review of the types of revolvers, rifles, and carbines used in the mid-1860s. I describe many of these weapons in The Iron Horse Chronicles, and I will also be covering them in my new book about the Bozeman Trail. By coincidence, the recent November 2016 issue of True West magazine contains a feature article about the collection of firearms in this museum.
Although Cody, Wyoming, is not located on any of the interstate highways, it is near the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Hundreds of tourists get the opportunity to combine their visit to the first national park with the first-class museums that comprise the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. For more information visit: https://centerofthewest.org/