Buffalo Bill Memorial Association
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July 12, 2012
The Gala Fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in Grand Lake was over and we’d “won”—a three-night stay in Cody, WY and tickets to some of the events at the September 2011 Rendezvous Royale! We were excited. With grandchildren in Alberta, we’d passed through Cody a number of times on our drive to Canada. But we were always in a hurry to get there or exhausted and ready to be home on the return drive to Colorado. We’d cruise by the Buffalo Bill Museum, give it a passing glance, and drive on. But this time, Cody would be our destination and the museum our focus!
My husband and I are career educators who lived, until 8 years ago, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. We love learning, travel, history, and museums. Based on our experiences and the small size of the Cody community, we expected to be enthralled by the art events of the Rendezvous and underwhelmed by the museum. Some dusty artifacts, a few dioramas, and cowboy lore summed up our expectations.
We were absolutely astounded to enter the complex, obtain a brochure and read about what awaited us! The five major museum themes, the quality of the displays, the richness of resources and authenticity, the superb scholarship exemplified by the McCracken Library, and the gift shop that offered learning experiences to take home all combined to leave us excited and wanting more.
We toured and explored, experiencing the familiar frustration we’ve often had in high quality museums throughout the world—so much to see and read, study and ponder, and not nearly enough time! As relatively new to the West, we were fascinated by the Plains Indians wing, appreciative of the Firearms section, and intrigued by the art. The latter came to life in a number of ways as we participated in the Rendezvous events. We came a day early to fly fish on the Yellowstone River so the gallery devoted to Yellowstone offered greater insight into the outdoor region we’d just enjoyed. And then the namesake exhibit, a Western figure whom we’d confused with Wild Bill Hickock. (Remember our suburban background. We wore cowboy boots and Stetsons only for Halloween. All the Wild Bill’s seemed alike to us!)
We left enchanted and with hotel reservations to return in 2012. We also joined the museum, took home an armful of books about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, along with a terrific Western shirt to wear in Colorado. And then we called friends and family, sharing our enthusiasm and appreciation for the Museum and its offerings. The result—we’ll be joined by my sister from Illinois and four good friends from Grand Lake, all new to Cody and Buffalo Bill, but each one interested and excited.
May their fervor, like ours, expand the knowledge and support of this magnificent center that lies in a small town near Yellowstone. We envision returning again and again in the years to come!
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