Why I Support…
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West would not exist without the generous contributions—of time, talent, and treasure—of its many supporters. Here, some of them tell us “Why I Support the Center of the West.” We appreciate them beyond measure.
Find out what they do for us, and what it means to them to be a part of our sharing the authentic story of the American West with these brief biographies and videos.
Member Spotlight: Charlie & Sue Abercrombie
Hailing from southern central Virginia, Charlie and Sue Abercrombie are longtime visitors to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West who cite the many memorable trips they have made to Cody, Wyoming, and the Center as important reasons for their ongoing support.
Charlie first visited Cody when he was 12 years old, traveling on a bus with a teacher-led group of about a dozen boys his age. That trip gave Charlie a love for the West, and nurtured a lifelong passion for working with horses.
Charlie’s southern charm and western spirit helped him court and marry Sue 52 years ago. Since then, they have traveled to Cody and the greater Yellowstone area many times, often visiting every year. They enjoy visiting the Center with friends, exploring the area, and purchasing horses in nearby Thermopolis, Wyoming, and buying mules at Jake Clark’s Mule Days event in Ralston, Wyoming.
Though the Abercrombies have many memories of bringing friends and family to the area, one that stands out is when they brought their two granddaughters to Cody as young teenagers. The visit included many hours roaming the galleries of the Center.
Before the trip, Charlie had asked his granddaughter, Lane, if she would like to go to Cody. Her answer was an emphatic “Yes!” But, when Charlie asked if they should bring along Lane’s younger sister, Anna James, Lane replied with a stern “NO.” Fortunately, both girls made the trip, with Cody and the Center’s stories of the American West capturing their interests at a formative time in their lives.
Lane is now graduating college and beginning life as a young professional. In a recent phone call with Grandma Sue, Lane brought up the idea of a trip to Cody to celebrate her college degree.
Charlie, not to miss an opportunity to tease, asked Lane if it was alright to bring Anna James along this time. Lane, of course, agreed without protest, looking forward to sharing the experience again together as a family.
Hopefully, it’s another in a long line of joyful family visits, reunions, and voyages of discovery and learning that so many of our members cherish.
Thank you, Charlie and Sue, for making Cody and the Center of the West a part of your life for so many years, and for sharing your love of the West with your friends, family, and grandchildren.
Donor Spotlight: Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
Robert W. Woodruff’s lifelong love for the West, and Cody in particular, was sparked by a childhood encounter with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody himself. For decades, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has been a generous supporter of the Cody Firearms Museum. The Winchester Arms Collection, the heart of the Cody Firearms Museum—plus the initial capital funds to house it—were secured in part through Woodruff’s personal friendship with John Olin of the Olin Corporation, Winchester’s parent company.
Read more about Woodruff and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation…
Member Spotlight: Bill and Carole Wiltse
Bill and Carole Wiltse aren’t Wyoming natives, but after twenty-plus years in the Park County area, it doesn’t seem fair to call them anything but locals! Bill’s cousin, a local outfitter, set up a series of pack trips in the 1980s. That, plus some visits to the Center, convinced the couple that migrating west from Detroit would be the journey of their lifetimes.
Bill and Carole first became members of the Center in 1989…
Read more about the Wiltses and their journey to the West…
Donor Impact: Mary Hiestand
Mary Hiestand, Charles G. Clarke’s daughter, inherited his amazing rare book collection and built a library in her Northridge, California, home to house the exceptional volumes. Then, in 1994, came the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake. The precious books her father had spent so many years collecting tumbled from their shelves, many of them badly damaged. It became clear that her home was not an ideal, long-term storage solution, and Hiestand considered options to make the collection accessible to scholars and others who shared her father’s passion for history.
Enter the McCracken Research Library and the Center of the West’s conservation internship program…
Read more about Mary Hiestand and the care of the books…
Donor Spotlight: Bill and Karen Hayes
Bill and Karen Hayes knew they wanted to get involved at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West from their first visit in 1980 with Bill’s cousin and Center Trustee and Advisor, Gordon Barrows. “We really fell in love with the place,” Bill recounts. That love took its form in decades of faithful membership support from their home in Texas where Bill worked as a financial advisor. Since recently retiring to Shell, Wyoming, their dedication to the Center has only increased…
Read more about Bill and Karen Hayes…
Arnold A. Brown
Arnold Brown’s first visit to Cody was in 1953 when he was just 7 years old. On that trip, he and his family stopped to view Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s sculpture The Scout before continuing on to Yellowstone. Through the years, he’s made several more trips to visit the Center and says, “I never tire of what I encounter on each visit.”
“The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is without a doubt the largest and best museum of any kind I have ever seen, and I am proud to be a decades-long member.”
Read more about why Arnold Brown supports the Center…
Paul and Karen George
“It’s a special place. It’s just a special place,” Paul George says with enthusiasm when asked about the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. “There are very few places in the country that you can experience what you experience here.”
Paul and Karen George became members when they moved to Cody in 2006, but their connection goes back to 1984…
Read more about why the Georges support the Center…
We’re honored that so many of our members choose to remain loyal supporters after joining, in many cases for the rest of their lives—just like our friend, Forrest Fenn of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Forrest says, “…my parents always stopped in on our way to Yellowstone. It was a summer pilgrimage for our family and the museum has always been a part of me.”