Cowgirls of the West Museum

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.

Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Cowgirls of the West Museum

 

Rodeo Cowgirls

The first exhibit is about rodeo cowgirls. Uniforms, individual stories, and photos were on display.

Rodeo cowgirls at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Rodeo cowgirls

Rodeo cowgirls at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Stories about rodeo cowgirls

Rodeo cowgirls at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Famous rodeo cowgirls

 

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.

Women of the West at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Women of the West

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.

Sears catalogue display at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Sears catalogue display

 

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 When Wyoming was being considered for admission as a state in 1890, Congress asked for the suffrage law to be repealed, but Wyoming stood by its women.

Women's suffrage at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Women’s suffrage

 

Telephone Switchboard

Finally, one interesting piece of local history was in the center of the museum – the 1941 Western Electric telephone switchboard from the Plains Hotel. It was in use until the early 1970s.

Telephone switchboard at the Cowgirls of the West Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming

Telephone switchboard

 

More Info

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.

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