Wyoming Minute

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Parfleche Woman's Beading Kit Chippewa Cree, Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, ca. 1890 Chandler-Pohrt Collection NA.106.203 Most containers in the museum's collections are empty. This one hid its contents for many years until Plains Indian Museum staff gently opened the envelope spring 2019. Wrapped in cloth were small beaded pieces, glass beads, sinew, beading needles, a bone awl, and a thimble.Credit Plains Indian MuseumEdit | Remove

The curator and curatorial assistant of the Plains Indian Museum once noticed an odd odor in one of the museum’s storage areas. This isn’t something that is welcome in museum collections since it usually means something is getting ruined. They soon found where the stench was coming from, a rawhide parfleche envelope. 

Buffalo Bill Museum

Custer’s Last Stand was reenacted thousands of times in the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. A poster shows the classic image of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors on horseback surrounding Custer’s men. But Jeremy Johnston, the curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum, said it probably didn’t happen like that.   

Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Museum Purchase. 5.79

When you think of epic Western landscapes, what comes to mind is probably those of Albert Bierstadt. Karen McWhorter, the curator of the Whitney Western Art Museum, said he stood out as a Western painter because he really brought 1800’s East Coast and European audiences to a scene they otherwise couldn’t imagine. 


Cody Firearms Museum

The Cody Firearms Museum has a pretty unique Colt Texas Paterson. The revolver is a repeating firearm with a revolving cylinder with multiple chambers. 

Plains Indian Museum

The Nez Perce Tribe historically was a nomadic tribe that roamed the Plains. The tribe is known for their use of color in beadwork using both geometric and floral designs. 


Buffalo Bill Museum, Garlow Collection

Although the Pony Express only lasted for about a year and half, the mail service has become synonymous with the Old West. The story of riders delivering mail from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in ten to eleven days at the time was the fastest a letter was ever delivered before electronic communication. 

Draper Natural History Museum

The Clark’s Nutcracker is a high mountain bird located in the Western U.S. The bird is pretty unique for its ability to cache said Corey Anco, the assistant curator of the Draper Natural History Museum. 

Images courtesy the Cody Firearms Museum

The Thompson Submachine Guns was invented in the early 1900s and it was originally meant for the battle field. But it became notorious as the gangster gun because it has been used in some gangster crimes. One of the most well-known is the 1929 Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.


During World War I, some Winchester Repeating Arms Company employees were eventually exempt from the draft because their skills were essential to the war effort.

Plains Indian Museum

The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Great Plains were known for being horticultural societies.

Corey Anco

In 2011, former curator of the Draper Natural History Museum Dr. Charles Preston received a surprise phone call. 

Gift of Franklin L. Farnsworth

What can a railroad jack tell us? (A railroad jack is a tool used to change out tires) Well, for the story of Buffalo Bill Cody it depicts a time period that we don’t know as much about compared to his later years. That’s according to Jeremy Johnston, the curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum.

Whitney Western Art Museum

 

In the 1820s, Native American diplomats traveled to Washington D.C. to negotiate peace deals with Americans. During that time period, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Thomas L. McKenney, commissioned portraits of hundreds of American Indian leaders.

Plains Indian Museum

The Dakota people are well-known for their use of florals in their embroidery. Around the 1870s, they depicted abstract natural world scenes like stars and flowers.  


MS391.01.001 - MS 391 Jack Rutherford Collection, McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West

What does Buffalo Bill have to do with ballet? That’s the question Samantha Harper, the archivist at the McCracken Research library, asked herself when she found a photo of Maria TallChief in a Buffalo Bill collection.

Cody Firearms Museum

One of the most “American” firearms is the American Rifle. However, most people generally refer to it as the Penn Rifle or the Kentucky Rifle. That’s according to Danny Michael, the assistant curator at the Cody Firearms Museum.


Wikipedia

It is unusual to find a snowy owl in Wyoming because they breed in the arctic tundra and usually spend their entire lives there, but Dr. Charles Preston, the former curator of the Draper Natural History Museum, said these owls are known to erupt.

Credit: Finley A. Goodman Collection

One of the oldest objects in the Buffalo Bill Museum collection is a Waterbury mantle clock that belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody’s mother Mary. Jeremy Johnston, the curator of the museum, said it indicates a shift in the family’s fortunes.

Otto Eerleman (1839–1926). Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Show, ca. 1887. Watercolor, 27.25 x 38.625 inches (framed). Gift of Sue and Wes Dixon

A watercolor painted in the late 19th century features the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show in action. But the painting doesn't only document the historic show in London but also a new technology.

Wikipedia.

During World War II, the U.S. Army was one of the first armies to adopt a semi-automatic rifle as its standard infantry arm. This was a big deal because during the war, most countries were still fighting with bolt action rifles, which are slower and don't have quite as much fire power.  


The Plains Indian Museum recently acquired two pieces of artwork from Lakota artist Dyani White Hawk. The two paintings are small 13 inch cubes. Rebecca West, the curator of the museum, said the paintings really evoke White Hawk’s formal artistic training and generational skill of beadwork. West said the pieces are bands of color done in acrylic and beadwork.

Credit Nathan Horton / Draper Natural History Museum

  

At one point in time, the swallow-tail kite bird was a common species in the Great Plains, including eastern Wyoming.

But Dr. Charles Preston, the former curator of the Draper Natural History Museum, said they no longer are found in this region.

Buffalo Bill Center of The West. P.6.266

Cody is named after William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, but what not many know is that this was a strategic choice. George Beck, a Wyoming politician and entrepreneur, was the first one to pitch the idea of building a canal in the Bighorn Basin, specifically around present-day Cody region.

“He [Beck] learned that Cody was coming to town and they decided to recruit Buffalo Bill because Buffalo Bill would be the greatest promoter for any project or investment here in the Bighorn Basin,” said Jeremy Johnston, the curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum. 

The McCracken Research Library receives hundreds of collections of journals, notebooks and photographs annually. Often, library staff are not able to go through it all. But when library fellows come in to research their own interests, many unknown gems are exposed.


Frank Perely Fairbanks (1875-1939). An Apotheosis of A. Phimister Proctor, 1927. Oil on linen, 126.5 x 78.75 inches. Gift of Jonathan Fairbanks Richards in memory of Barbara Fairbanks Fite

Frank Perely Fairbanks was a classmate of Phimister Proctor’s, the famous American sculptor, at the American Academy in Rome.

Fairbanks, who was himself was a portraitist, admired Proctor greatly. So much so that he painted a monumental portrait of Proctor. Karen McWhorter, the curator of the Whitney Western Art Museum, said the painting doesn’t only portray Proctor but his family as well. 

Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection


The Cody Firearms Museum is home to over 7,000 firearms but there’s one that is particularly popular with the public. That gun is a percussion trap gun. Ashley Hlebinsky, the curator of the museum, said it's nickname is the watermelon patch gun.

Courtesy of the Plains Indian Museum.

Museums are collections of objects that tell a story about something. At the Plains Indian Museum, the objects tell the story of the Plains Indian people. But sometimes the materials the objects are made out of are hard to conserve.

Courtesy of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

The Draper Natural History Museumwas founded in 1998. The founding curator, Dr. Charles Preston, had a surprise collection waiting for him when he arrived.

 


Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

It’s well known that President Theodore Roosevelt helped shape the American West as we know it today. But the curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum, Jeremy Johnston, said Roosevelt, along with Buffalo Bill, also promoted the romance and myth of the American West.


Courtesy of the Plains Indian Museum.

During the Reservation Era, roughly from the 1870s to the 1920s, Native Americans were required to move onto allotments of land. Rebecca West, the curator of the Plains Indian Museum, said it was a time when the United States government followed a policy of extermination and assimilation. 


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