Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Media Fact Sheet
Official Name & Address:
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, Wyoming 82414
The Buffalo Bill Museum opened as a log cabin in 1927 in downtown Cody; in 1969 it moved to a new wing of what was then-named the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, joining the Whitney Western Art Museum (opened in 1959 as the Whitney Gallery of Western Art) on the Center’s campus. The Plains Indian Museum opened in 1979, the Cody Firearms Museum in 1976 (redesigned and reinstalled in 2019), the McCracken Research Library in 1980, and the Draper Natural History Museum in 2002.
The Center of the West at a Glance:
Connecting people to the stories of the American West.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the premier destination to experience the authentic story of the American West. Five world-class perspectives on aspects of the West mesh to move visitors to discover and develop personal connections to that story. A research library supports exploration of these perspectives.
The Center is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. A repeat recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence from several years running, the Center also frequently wins honors in True West magazine’s annual “Best of the West” awards.
The Center of the West takes visitors on an adventurous ride through the history of the American West via its 300,000 square feet of collections of artifacts, interactive displays, western art, and exhibits housed within five museums and one research library. The Center appeals to visitors of all ages and is an attraction that can be enjoyed over a few hours or a few days.
Less than a one-hour drive from Yellowstone National Park, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has become a memorable part of millions of family vacations and was recently named one of the “favorite museums for group travelers” by the National Tour Association.
The Center’s Five Museums:
The Buffalo Bill Museum explores the history and myth of the American West through the private life of William F. Cody, his public persona of Buffalo Bill and the world-traveling spectacle—Buffalo Bill’s Wild West—that made him famous.
The Plains Indian Museum reveals how the art, history, traditions, and contemporary lives of Plains Indian peoples helped shape the character of the American West.
The Draper Natural History Museum illuminates the American West’s binding relationship between man and nature with a focus on the wildlife and landscapes of the Yellowstone region.
The Cody Firearms Museum examines the people and culture of the American West through the world’s most comprehensive exhibit of American firearms.
The Whitney Western Art Museum depicts the tapestry of the American West through the eyes of the artists who interpreted and defined it.
The Center’s Research Library:
The McCracken Research Library advances the appreciation and understanding of the American West by preserving its archival history, supporting exploration of undiscovered resources, and making its large and significant photograph collection digitally accessible.
Event & Experience Highlights:
Draper Museum Raptor Experience: Twelve live birds of prey including golden eagle, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, great horned owl, turkey vulture, American kestrel, short-eared owl, saw-whet owl, eastern screech owl, and Swainson’s hawk. Daily programs and opportunities to ask questions of handlers. Call 307-578-4111 for specific information and current schedule.
Scout Saddle Company Saddle & Leatherworking Shop: A fully functioning 1920s-era saddle shop brings the history of saddlemaking to life and ensures the future of the trade. Led by master saddler Keith Seidel alongside three saddler’s apprentices, Scout Saddle Company brings leather goods of the West to life while you watch and ask questions! Monday through Saturday during regular museum hours.
Please note: plans for events that would encourage large gatherings have been and continue to be in flux due to COVID-19. We will update this section regarding major events (e.g. Plains Indian Museum Powwow, Patrons Ball, etc.) as information becomes available.
- Plains Indian Museum Powwow: This annual competition showcases the dancing, music, and energy of Native artists from across the Northern Plains. The event includes two days of competition, as well as the opportunity for visitors to watch talented dancers and drum groups. Attendees can also browse the booths of more than 40 Native artists displaying food, clothing, and other crafts made by people of the Northern Plains.
- Patrons Ball fundraising gala: This black-tie event is our major fundraising extravaganza of the year—and the premier gala of the Rocky Mountain region. Enjoy cocktails, gourmet dinner, dancing, silent auction, and raffles. Proceeds benefit the programs and public activities of the Center. A highlight of the evening is the drawing for our raffles, one of which always features a classic car.
Summer brings a variety of innovative experiences at the Center, including chuck wagon dinners, after-hour tours and activities.
Other events and programs: visit our calendar for the latest information.
The Equestrian West: Photographs by William Shepley features Shepley’s amazing black and white photography. Beginning in the 1980s, he followed his passion for the equestrian culture of the American West to produce these stunning images. Self-assigned and self-funded, The Equestrian West was a labor of love, the result of dedicated effort over many years. Open in the John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery through April 11, 2021.
Whoop it Up! Celebrating 100 Years of the Cody Stampede tells the story of the Cody Stampede, a highly successful, multi-day rodeo event held every year since 1919, except during World War II. The special exhibition features vintage photographs, artwork, artifacts, film footage–and not a few surprises. It interprets the Stampede in the context of its precursor, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, with its heroic portrait of the American cowboy taming wild broncs. It connects as well to the diverse cast of lady riders, cowgirls, trick riders and ropers, and bold equestrianism that made the Wild West a template for western rodeos throughout America. Open in the Anne and Charles Duncan Special Exhibition Gallery at least through the end of 2020.
Center curators, staff, and local historians are also available, by appointment, to members of the media seeking to add layers of colorful commentary, facts, and stories to their editorial coverage.
- Jeremy Johnston, Historian; Hal and Naoma Tate Endowed Chair of Western American History; Managing Editor, Papers of William F. Cody
- Nathan Doerr, Willis McDonald IV Curator of Natural Science, Draper Natural History Museum
- Rebecca West, Curator of Plains Indian Cultures, Plains Indian Museum; Collier-Read Director of Curatorial, Education, and Museum Services
- Karen McWhorter, Scarlett Curator of Western American Art, Whitney Western Art Museum
- Danny Michael, Associate Curator, Cody Firearms Museum
- Mary Robinson, Housel Director, McCracken Research Library
Downloadable, high-resolution images of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West are available to media at: centerofthewest.org/about-us/pr-images
- Peter S. Seibert, Executive Director and CEO
- William N. “Bill” Shiebler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
- Board of Trustees
- Advisory boards comprised of scholars, collectors, and donors have been appointed for each content area and the library
- Levi Meyer, PR/Marketing Manager, 307-578-4137, [email protected]