Frequently Asked Questions: F.A.Q.
Our Cody Firearms Museum staff get a lot of visitor questions. Here are some of the most common questions we receive, along with the answers!
Q: How many guns do you have?
A: We have more than 7,000 firearms in the collection along with many more firearm related artifacts. Currently about 4,200 guns are on display.
Q: Is this the largest gun collection in the country?
A: No, there are larger. However, we are fortunate to have a wide representation of firearms history and we keep as much on display as possible.
Q: How much is the collection worth?
A: Our collection is priceless so we don’t talk about monetary value. When we add something to the collection we do so “in perpetuity” and consider that item not for sale. Many of the artifacts are one-of-a-kind and are irreplaceable should something happen to them.
Q: You have some really cool weapons!
A: We don’t refer to our collection items as weapons. The objects in the museum are artifacts. While they may have been used in a variety of ways, both good and bad, their purpose now is education.
Q: Are the firearms real and do they work?
A: The guns on exhibit are original pieces and we do not alter them to prevent their function.
Q: How often do you clean the guns?
A: Not very often. We rely on temperature and humidity controls to protect the collection. We use gloves when we handle artifacts to prevent damage from skin oils. We monitor light levels because even UV-filtered light can damage items over time. We are fortunate to have a conservator on staff who cares for any damaged or fragile pieces.
Q: What’s it like to shoot the firearms in the collection?
A: We don’t shoot anything in the collection. Our first mission is preservation, our second is education. We want this collection to be protected and the firearms preserved for as long as possible. Firing risks damage and causes wear and tear, making the guns less useful for study over time.
Q: Can I work there?
A: Yes, we do post jobs from time to time, but most curatorial-related positions require a graduate degree and museum experience, especially with firearms collections.
Q: Does that mean you are snooty academics that hate fun?
A: We hope not!
Q: What can you tell me about my firearm?
A: For questions specific to Winchester, Marlin, or L.C. Smith firearms, such as original manufacture date and firearms configuration, the Cody Firearms Records Office is often able to help. Serial number searches result in a factory letter specific to your firearm. Click here to visit the Records Office page for current pricing information. Such a search can provide information such as date of production, warehousing, shipment, original configuration of the firearm, and sometimes other data from the original factory ledgers.
Contact the Records Specialist at 307-578-4031, [email protected], or:
CFM Records Office
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue
Cody, WY 82414