Cody Firearms Museum Curator Ashley Hlebinsky of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has been awarded the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s (POMA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) annual Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award for 2017. The prestigious honor recognizes extraordinary achievements in communications in the areas of responsible firearms use, the shooting sports, and hunting. Hlebinsky accepted the award Tuesday, January 17 during the 2017 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show®) State of the Industry Dinner in Las Vegas.
“The entire POMA organization is excited to honor Ashley for her contribution as a firearms communicator, historian, and expert analyst in the media. She also will proudly add her own piece of history as the first female to receive this prestigious award,” said Kevin L. Orthman, Executive Director of POMA. “The Grits Gresham Award is one of the highest awards POMA gives out each year, and Ashley is a great example of someone who has spent her career changing the face of firearms in the media, and preserving the history and legacies of some of the greatest firearms in the world.”
POMA and the NSSF developed the Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award in 2005, when NSSF honored Gresham with a lifetime achievement award. The award recognizes communicators within the firearms arena who grasp the ideals, foster the commitment, and display the talent Grits Gresham exhibited during his storied career.
“From Ashley’s first stint as a Research Fellow here at the Center of the West, we knew we had the ideal representative for our Cody Firearms Museum,” Bruce Eldredge, the Center’s Executive Director and CEO explained. “Now, as curator, her knowledge of firearms and the firearms industry is extraordinary, as well as her command of the delicate issues surrounding firearms use in our country. Ashley continues to foster relationships throughout the museum world, the Cody area, and the firearms industry. We heartily congratulate Ashley on this award and the POMA for recognizing her remarkable contribution.”
Hlebinsky has a master’s degree in American History and Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, where she studied the perception of firearms in culture, and then spent three years researching onsite at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Firearms Collection. In January 2015, the Center of the West appointed her Robert W. Woodruff Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum where she manages a collection of 7,000 historic firearms and 30,000 firearms-related objects. In addition, Hlebinsky lectures around the country and in Canada to both the firearms industry and the academic community on the glamorization and stigmatization of firearms both in modern culture and in museums. She also is a freelance writer and has appeared on both national and international television networks.
Claude Hamilton “Grits” Gresham Jr. (1922–2008) was an internationally known American sportsman, author, photographer, and television personality who hosted ABC’s The American Sportsman series from 1966 to 1979. He traveled the globe with hunting, fishing, and shooting opportunities, championing causes related to the environment and conservation. Past winners of the Gresham Award include veteran industry professionals such as Ron Spomer, Jim Zumbo, Doug Painter; Mark A. Keefe IV, and Gresham’s son Tom.
POMA is the premier communications and industry professional’s organization—the only group wholly focused on the traditional outdoor sports of hunting, shooting, fishing, and trapping.
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Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.