The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is much, much bigger on the inside than it looked from the outside. We spent the good part of a day there. It is really several different museums under one roof. There is, of course, a museum on the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody but there is also a natural history museum, a museum of Western art, a Plains Indians museum and a firearms museum. There were several other smaller sections, including one on the outlaws of the west. All of them were quite good but I’d have to say we enjoyed the Western Art museum the most.
The Art Museum has an eclectic view of what Western Art is and had paintings from the 1700’s and 1800’s as well as contemporary works that included Indian artists. It was mostly paintings but there were a large number of sculptures too. They had the largest collection of Remington bronzes I’ve every seen as well as a whole room devoted to Remington’s drawings and paintings. The West is core part of American mythology and most of the pieces acknowledged or played to that fact. Susan and I haven’t had good luck at art museums up until now, but we enjoyed this one a lot. I think we stopped and looked at every piece there.
The firearms museum was dauntingly large. It was intended to be as complete a collection as possible of all models of all guns made primarily by American manufacturers but also included some European manufacturers as well. There was display case after display case after display case of guns. I imagine that a collector or gun expert could see and understand the subtle differences between what looked to us to be identical guns, but it was hard for us to seem them. Interesting in its own way, but a bit overwhelming.
We entered through what we thought was the main entrance (it was, after all, right next to the parking lot) but it was really a side entrance that brought us first to the Natural History museum. We got a brochure with a map, but the map wasn’t detailed and just indicated which section was approximately where so it took us a while to figure out where we were and how to get to the rest of the center. Once we’d done this one of the first things we ran across was a live demonstration of a Chuck Wagon and its history which was a lot of fun.
When we first went in, the person selling us the admission tickets said that they were good for two days. We didn’t understand why they’d do that, but once we got an idea of just how big the Center was, it made sense. If we had more time we would have come back so and gotten a better look at some of the sections.
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center was excellent and worth a trip to Cody just to see it. We would give it an A for handicap accessibility since we had no trouble, other than getting tired from the sheer size of the place, getting into any of the museums and other sections.