Buffalo Bill Center of the West

One of the finest museums in the country sits on the west end of Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is dedicated to telling the story of the American West.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

The Buffalo Bill Center is actually five world-class museums in one. Admission is US$19 for adults and it’s open daily from March to November. From December through February, it’s open Thursday through Sunday.

Buffalo Bill sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill sculpture

 

Draper Natural History Museum

My visit to the center started with the Draper Natural History Museum. It’s dedicated to the  ecology and wildlife of Yellowstone National Park. With animals in lifelike settings and hands-on displays, it’s a wonderful introduction to the park. Even for those who have visited the park, there is a lot to learn from this museum.

Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Draper Natural History Museum

 

Buffalo Bill Museum

Next, I wandered through the Buffalo Bill Museum. The flagship museum of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, It documents the life of the iconic American hero Buffalo Bill Cody. On display are personal effects of the legend including his clothing, guns, and saddle along with “Camp Monaco”, a tent used by Cody on a hunting trip with the Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1913. His relationship with Native Americans is also covered.

Buffalo Bill's saddle at the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill’s saddle

Camp Monaco at the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Camp Monaco

The exhibits include many artifacts from his touring Wild West show. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s clothes and gun are displayed in one of the cases. Cody’s field tent from the show is also there.

Annie Oakley's gun at the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Annie Oakley’s gun

Buffalo Bill's tent from the Wild West show at the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill’s tent from the Wild West show

Buffalo Bill's tent from the Wild West show at the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill’s tent from the Wild West show

 

Plains Indian Museum

The third museum I visited was the Plains Indian Museum. The history, culture, and traditions of the Plains Indians are beautifully covered in several captivating displays. Artifacts such as weapons, clothing, ceremonial items, and art as well as an example of a modern Native American home are in the museum.

Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Plains Indian Museum

Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Plains Indian Museum

Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Warrior exhibit at the Plains Indian Museum

Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Display of a typical home Plains Indian Museum

After the Plains Indian Museum, I walked through a courtyard with a few sculptures of Native Americans. Crazy Horse was depicted in one of them.

Courtyard at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Courtyard

Crazy Horse sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Crazy Horse sculpture

Sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Sculpture

 

Whitney Western Art Museum

Next was a quick look at the Whitney Western Art Museum. I wasn’t too interested in this museum, but there were some beautiful paintings and sculptures that I walked past. The most interesting section for me was a disassembled sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt called “Rough Rider”.

 

Cody Firearms Museum

Finally, I walked through the Cody Firearms Museum. Over 7,000 firearms and 30,000 firearms-related artifacts are on display. Guns from just about every war the United States has participated in as well as guns from foreign wars are on display. American gun manufacturers such as Colt, Winchester, and Smith & Wesson have their own displays.

Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Cody Firearms Museum

World War I at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

World War I

Smith & Wesson at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Smith & Wesson

A replica gun factory and hardware store show how guns are designed and made.

at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Hardware store

In the basement, international firearms are displayed as well as cases where visitors can pull a handle to display more guns. A few national treasures are there as well, including a huge Swiss Army-style folding knife complete with a .22 caliber revolver – made 12 years before the Swiss Army knife was even invented! Another important firearm is a hunting rifle made for Catherine the Great of Russia.

Basement at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

Basement

National treasures at the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming

National treasures

 

Conclusion

By the time I had finished going through the museum, I was blown away at the amount of things to see and the overall quality. I allotted just a couple hours to see it but it warrants much more. At the very least, I recommended a half day to fully appreciate what the center has to offer. It’s a real treasure.

%d bloggers like this: