Several stellar exhibitions highlight the upcoming season as the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (formerly the Buffalo Bill Historical Center) moves into summer operating hours of 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily. The schedule change takes place May 1 and remains in effect through September 15.
Already on display and remaining so through August 11, 2013, the National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West exhibition features 75 iconic western images that have appeared in the magazine over the past 125 years. It includes classic black and white photos by the likes of Ansel Adams as well as stunning color images of western landscapes, people, and events. Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in collaboration with the National Geographic Society and Museums West, and presented by The Mays Family Foundation, the Greatest Photos exhibition opened last fall in ten museums simultaneously.
The recently-opened exhibition Karl Bodmer Prints: Images of North America gives viewers a glimpse of the Swiss artist’s 1832 journey through the American West with German aristocrat and naturalist Prince Maximilian of Wied. A dozen prints reveal Bodmer’s detailed and accurate portrayals of the people they encountered; he was one of the first European artists to depict the Native peoples of the American West.
In an exhibition opening to the public May 4, the Center collaborates with the Smithsonian Institution to display 64 unique firearms—many of them one-of-a-kind patent models and prototypes—in Journeying West: Distinctive Firearms from the Smithsonian. The collection also includes an exquisitely embellished musket that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, and a circa 1730 rifle of Catherine the Great’s. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian, and the exhibition will be on display through fall 2015.
Finally, an exhibition featuring images from the Center’s own extraordinary photograph collections returns: Retrieving the Past: Favorite Photos from the Archives. Giving viewers a fascinating look into subjects as diverse as the wonders of Yellowstone National Park; area ranching, industry, and aerial photography; and William F. Cody’s life as a frontiersman, showman, and entrepreneur, these images are among the most requested of the Center’s McCracken Research Library, which houses more than a half million photographs.
In addition to these special exhibitions, the Center opens the Paul Dyck Gallery in its Plains Indian Museum to display the extraordinary Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, acquired through the generosity of the Dyck family and additional gifts of the Nielson Family and the Estate of Margaret S. Coe. For more detail about special exhibitions, click here.
Since 1917, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has been committed to the greatness and growth of the American West, keeping western experiences alive. The Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms, and the nature and science of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West.