After ten weeks, I bid my farewell to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the Cody Firearms Records Office.
When I started this internship, I was unsure how interesting firearms records could actually be. After all, the only thing more exciting in my mind then a bunch of guns had to be a bunch of papers about guns. However, to my amazement, I have greatly enjoyed my time here in the records office. I have learned a great deal about firearms, how to read gun records, and also interesting bits of history that can be found within the records. Even though I still do not understand many of the specifics, for example caliber, I have gained a significant measure of firearms knowledge. My knowledge about Winchester has grown in strides after studying their existing office records. I uncovered some entertaining stories such as a Winchester executive explaining to the board why he will never travel by airplane and letters from Teddy Roosevelt with his ammunition requests sent on White House stationary.
Touring the Center of the West at large has given me insight into the history of the American West and the myth that the West has inspired. Being involved in firearms records, has meant that I can appreciate what an integral part firearms had to play in the history of the American West. Each of the museums at the Center has something to say about firearms and their place in history. These experiences have given me a more complex picture of the history of the West. The more complex history means that I have a fuller understanding of how individuals interacted in the American West.
Part of the internship experience is the chance to discover a new place. Stepping out of the museum has given me the opportunity to go to my first gun show, see a Western themed Shakespeare play, and even jousting. I have learned about Cody’s history, and explored Yellowstone, the Tetons, and Bear Tooth Pass.
All these experiences have given me insight into the American West and helped to create a rewarding internship experience. Now, I must head back to the Midwest to complete my final year of undergraduate, but maybe one day I will return again.