The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has named Jeremy Johnston its Curator of Western American History. He continues in his role as managing editor of the Papers of William F. Cody, but now adds oversight of the Center’s Buffalo Bill Museum to his responsibilities.
“This is a great opportunity—one I have dreamed about since visiting the Center as a young boy,” Johnston notes. “It is an honor to oversee the care and interpretation of the extraordinary artifacts in the Buffalo Bill Museum. With the work of the Buffalo Bill Museum now combined with the ongoing efforts of the Papers of William F. Cody, sharing the story of William F. Cody with our visitors becomes even more enriched.”
Dr. John Rumm, former Buffalo Bill Museum Curator is now the Director of the Center’s Curatorial Division and Curator of Public History.
No stranger to the Center, Johnston served as associate editor of the Papers project for a year before becoming its manager in 2010. Before that—while a professor of American History at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming—he was twice tapped as one of the Center’s Research Fellows.
A Powell, Wyoming, native, Johnston has extensive knowledge of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and the history of the West that surrounded the western enigma. Johnston is a descendant of John B. Goff—a familiar name to area residents. Goff was a hunting guide for President Theodore Roosevelt, chosen by the president to become game warden in Yellowstone National Park in 1905. A hunter and tourist guide, Goff also managed the Wapiti Stage Stop—on the way to Yellowstone—for Buffalo Bill.
“I grew up listening to family tales of Goff, Roosevelt, and Buffalo Bill,” Johnston explains. “I can still recall my great-grandmother Glenna Spaulding Johnston telling me how as a young girl she walked with her family from western Nebraska to the Bighorn Basin in 1899.” His great-grandfather James Johnston homesteaded in the Cody region in the late 1890s and later served as a supervisor of the Cody Canal.
Johnston earned both his BA (1993) and his MA (1995) from the University of Wyoming. He taught history at Northwest College for more than 15 years before coming to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. He’s written extensively about the West and received the 2006 Westerners International Coke Wood Award, for his article about Roosevelt and the creation of the National Park Service. Johnston is a past-president of the Wyoming State Historical Society and has appeared on several Wyoming PBS documentaries. He is currently a PhD candidate with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, and is finishing his doctoral dissertation examining the connections between Roosevelt and Cody.
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. The Center of the West has been honored with numerous awards, including the prestigious 2012 National Tour Association’s Award for “favorite museum for groups,” the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and, most recently, one of the “Top 10 Must See Western Museums” by True West magazine.