The Cowgirls of the West Museum, located in downtown Cheyenne on 17th Street, was a nice find. We always hear about the cowboy life and men of the Wild West, but we rarely hear about the women. It was refreshing to see things from another perspective.
The first exhibit is about rodeo cowgirls. Uniforms, individual stories, and photos were on display.
Women of the West
The museum name is misleading because it isn’t just about cowgirls. There are several stories on the walls about women of the West. Some of the stories were about hardships while others told tales of self-made success. Many of the women are well known, such as Annie Oakley and Sacajawea.
A display on the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue showed how life dramatically changed for women on the frontier. They were able to order items that were impossible or too expensive to find out west. It also touched on the J.C. Penney empire, which started in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
The Equality State
Women’s suffrage is also touched upon. Wyoming, known as the Equality State, was the first place in the entire world that allowed women to vote in 1869. When Wyoming was being considered for admission as a state in 1890, Congress asked for the suffrage law to be repealed, but Wyoming stood by its women.
It’s well worth popping into the museum and spending some time going through the exhibit. Admission is free and it’s run by an enthusiastic group of women that are happy to answer any questions. The museum is closed during the winter.