Museum Minute: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Posters

Oct 4, 2018

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was so famous by the end of the 19th century it traveled to Europe. These shows were celebrated back in America by billboard-sized posters. These posters are rare to find. This was the time when posters were plastered on walls, then the next show would come in and a new poster would be plastered over it. So eventually the poster would be scraped off the wall.

The posters are valuable, since they demonstrate the marketing techniques used by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and they interpret how Buffalo Bill encapsulated iconic images in American culture - like the attack of the Deadwood's Stagecoach and the attack of the homesite.

The Buffalo Bill Museum has over 200 posters, because some originals were held by families of performers to preserve them. One poster the museum has highlights the performance before Queen Victoria and her royal court in England, which was a highlight of Buffalo Bill’s career.