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Buffalo Bill Memorial Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Art Museums, Arts & Culture, History Museums, Museums, Natural History & Natural Science Museums

Mission: The center is the world leader in presenting authentic interpretation and compelling experiences about the american west. Through our ideas, collections, and programs we educate worldwide audiences about the past, present, and future of the american west.

Programs: Curatorial, collections and conservation:the curatorial, conservation and museum services departments care for more than 104,000 collection objects, 7,800 linear feet of archival and manuscript collections, and 500,000 historic photographs. In addition, a major outdoor sculpture collection and sculpture garden contains a collection of over 20 bronzes and ferrous objects. As the only conservation laboratory within an institution in wyoming, the conservator routinely responds to inquiries from museums and the public in wyoming and the interior west. Center curators, archivists and collections managers also routinely counsel and assist smaller institutions and individuals in wyoming and the rocky mountain region. In 2014, the whitney western art museum staff continued research and plans for a john mix stanley exhibition and plans for traveling the go west! Exhibit. There has not been a major exhibition of stanley's paintings since 1852. More than 200 of his works were destroyed in a fire at the smithsonian institution in 1865 which likely contributed to a lack of knowledge about him in later american art history. The exhibition is called painted journeys: the art of john mix stanley, and opens at the center of the west, june 6, 2015. The center's plains indian museum received major planning grants from the national endowment for the humanities and the national endowment for the arts with grant periods ending in summer 2014. These grants enabled us to develop concepts for the traveling exhibition legacies: plains indian art from the paul dyck collection. In 2014, the plains indian museum expanded our outreach to indian communities through educational programs and web initiatives. The center's cody firearms museum installed stabaarte cases designed for visible storage. Installed in late january 2014 and containing 299 firearms, the vertical racks consist predominantly of foreign firearms, including european firearms from military conflicts through the world wars. The horizontal shelves encompass the history of the handgun from early matchlocks through contemporary products. The stabaarte displays are a stepping-stone for the cody firearms museum to develop a full-scale firearms research center that will cultivate an atmosphere of academic scholarship. The center's mccracken research library scanned and catalogued more than 4,000 firearms design drawings, as well as other materials related to american firearms history, and uploaded them to the website. The mccracken research library has continued to pursue digitization of collections to increase accessibility for research and educational purposes. The center's draper natural history museum developed and presented joe riis's pronghorn passage photography exhibition accompanied by a public presentation about the research. The draper reached more than 30,000 program participants with various lecture series, field trips, galapagos/ecuador natural history tour, and draper museum raptor experience. The center is accredited by the american alliance of museums which means that the center is in the top 800 museums out of over 18,000 nationally.

education:school programmingthis year, 4,350 students enjoyed either self-guided or docent/educator-guided tours. School programs included buffalo bill's birthday museum adventure in february, greater yellowstone museum adventure in late april, as well as other field trips throughout the year. The miles program continues to provide travel and lodging assistance to students throughout the rocky mountain west. More than 500 students were able to visit the center through this program in 2014. Students participated in a two-day educational experience that included guided tours and self-guided experiences with the use of tailored activity maps. Skype in the classroomthe interpretive education department participates in a partnership with skype in the classroom (https://education. Skype. Com/) to offer interactive virtual lessons to classrooms throughout the world. In 2014, educators reached over 7,600 students in 41 states and 9 countries. Teachers could choose from three lessons: stories and cultures of plains indians and buffalo; trappers, traders, trailblazers: mountain men of the rocky mountain west; and do you see me like i see me? : cultural perspectives in western american art. Internet educational opportunitiesthe center added two interactive activities to the website in 2014. These include history canvas, which is based on our popular create your west interactive in the whitney western art museum, and dressed just right, inspired by the center's children's book of the same name. Family fun daysthe center sponsored eight "family fun days" in 2014 with more than 1,500 people in attendance. Titles included live at the museum; lights, camera, action! ; winter museum olympics; music of the west; summer party; and hootin' howlin' halloween. These family programs strive to connect our community members to our museum, and help families have fun interacting with each other and our exhibits. Participants rotated through hands-on activity stations where they created art projects, played games, interacted with please touch objects, and solved clues to discover new meanings hidden in the center's collection. Summer children and family programmingchuckwagon cooking demonstrations featured knowledgeable cooks who made the history of the cattle drive come to life. In addition to talking about cooking on a cattle drive, the chuckwagon cooks cooked dutch oven biscuits and beans over a campfire and served them to more than 10,000 visitors during the summer. Father and son team, john and gianluca giarrizzo, spent two weeks each in the whitney western art museum sketching and interacting with visitors. En plein air artist, michele farrier, also spent two weeks in the gallery sharing her techniques with visitors. Garden programs during summer months included fun and games in the west, art in the garden, and educator's choice, which involved a craft, an activity, or a lesson. More than 1,000 visitors participated. Spotlight programsdocents and staff presented twenty-minute spotlight programs featuring a variety of museum topics to more than 2,000 visitors. The essential chuckwagon, the story of "the scout", the sculptures of a. P. Proctor, and james bama--artist and photographer were some of the topics covered. Bear aware programs, in partnership with the u. S. Forest service, discussed bear safety and good habits to practice in bear country. Greater yellowstone raptor experiencethe draper natural history museum's live raptor program offered presentations daily at the center as well as outreach programs to schools in the area. Staff and volunteers presented daily programs entitled "hunters on the wing" from may through september. They also had the birds out daily for the entire year so visitors could ask questions of our raptor handlers. Staff and volunteers presented 557 programs that were attended by 35,113 visitors. Tour guide programeducation staff delivered more than 315 guided tours of the center serving 5,050 visitors from june through september. Tour titles were wildlife in the west, people in the west, and views of yellowstone. Visitors were guided through multiple galleries on these tours, integrating the varied disciplines represented at the center. Audio toursnew in 2014, the center added an audio tour of the whitney western art museum. The tour features 25 stops that highlight artwork and provide insights through curator and scholar interviews, descriptive artistic detail, and special features. Discovery field tripsthe center conducted discovery field trips for middle school students. In july students participated in a butterfly survey to learn about patterns and distribution of butterflies in the rocky mountain west. The paddling through time canoe trip focused on water issues and geology of the big horn canyon. Community festivalsin 2014, the center partnered with many community groups and state and federal wildlife agencies for two major community events. Spring into yellowstone, a birding and wildlife festival, was held in may and in august the cody wild west riverfest drew attention to the ecological and recreational benefits of the shoshone river. Plains indian museum powwowat our 33rd annual plains indian museum powwow, dancers, drum groups, and artists from northern plains tribes gathered to celebrate their vibrant cultural traditions and histories. Nearly 3,000 people attended this two day event in june. Adult offeringsprograms are offered throughout the year for our adult learners. The classes are offered in a variety of disciplines, formats, and lengths, and are targeted primarily to local audiences. There are fees for some of these programs while others are free to all. Examples include: docent training, cody culture club, buffalo gals luncheon, and behind the scenes tours of the center. Coe auditorium programsspecial presenters and our own curators do programs in the coe auditorium throughout the year for our visitors. They attract both our general visitors and our local community members to sit and relax for approximately 45 minutes of interpretation and entertainment. The programs are primarily designed for adult audiences. Programs include: draper natural history museum lunchtime expeditions lecture series, whitney western art museum lecture series, book author lectures, fellowship scholars presentations, and programs by our curatorial staff. In 2014, the center offered 25 lecture programs with approximately 2500 people in attendance. Photography gallery programsduring 2014, the center's john bunker sands photography gallery featured three exhibitions; pronghorn passage, focusing on the second longest recorded overland mammal migration in the western hemisphere; contemporary art in advance of the buffalo bill art show and sale; and retrieving the past, a collection of historic black and white photographs. Intern programsthe buffalo bill center of the west offers internships to students in many museum-related disciplines. In 2014, the center had 6 interns from 6 states in the following departments: library- photo archivist, education, firearms curatorial, western art curatorial, registration, and graphics. In addition, the conservation department's internship program trains students of all levels, from graduates of the conservation master's programs to high school students. The interns all function as part of the conservation department, accomplishing tasks such as examination of objects and condition reporting, developing treatment strategy, and carrying out their own treatments and documentation. Over 69 interns (9 in 2014) from all over the united states and france, the uk, finland, egypt, south korea and spain have been trained in the conservation intern program at the center since the program started in 2008. Yellowstone national park programsfrom june through august, the center presents four programs per week in yellowstone national park at lake lodge. Topics are wide-ranging and include art, american history, and natural history. Yellowstone photography workshopin partnership with the palm beach photographic centre in florida, adults had the opportunity to learn new photography techniques while learning about the natural wonders of yellowstone in this week long adventure.

- research and scholarship:the papers of william f. Cody:the papers of william f. Cody continued its program to collect cody's writings and information that has been published about him, photographs, and cody's business records. More than 20 scholars and graduate students are involved with this project representing 10 colleges and universities in the united states and abroad. This information is collected and published online via the cody archive (www. Codyarchive. Org) through a partnership with the center for digital research in the humanities at university of nebraska -- lincoln. Additionally, the papers publishes reprints of historical books by and about william f. Cody through the university of nebraska press. During 2014, the center's jeremy johnston chaired a roundtable discussion, "the enduring global legacy of buffalo bill's wild west," and with representatives of the papers of william f. Cody, discussed various topics related to buffalo bill's global legacy. Participants included dr. Douglas seefeldt, history department, ball state university; dr. Frank christianson, english department, brigham young university; michelle delaney, director of the consortium for understanding the american experience, smithsonian institution; and riva freifeld, an independent documentary filmmaker. C-span recorded and broadcast the program on december 7, 2014. Scientific research:during 2014, dr. Charles preston presented golden eagle/sagebrush-steppe research results at the north american congress of conservation biology, international raptor research foundation, biennial conference on science in the greater yellowstone ecosystem, and u. S. Fish and wildlife service golden eagle task force international workshops. His research has been and continues to be a long term project, involving volunteers, interns, students, and staff to monitor golden eagle nest occupation and productivity and examine predator-prey dynamics in relation to variations in weather, landscape composition, and land use in the multiple use landscape of the bighorn basin in northwestern wyoming. The draper continued preparation and work on greater yellowstone wolf specimens for use in scientific research, educational programming, and exhibits. Staff and volunteers began work on a collections catalogue for dissemination to the scientific community. Mccracken research library:the mccracken research library is the research arm of the center, attracting scholars, authors, filmmakers, and collectors who seek direct contact with the materials of history. In early 2014, the library hired a full-time photo cataloger under an institute for museums and library services (imls) grant to catalog and digitize the william f. Cody collection photographs. The center continues digitization of its collections - over 4,000 items digitized in 2014 for a total of more than 30,000 historic images and documents available for electronic research. The library also taught classes to 50 high school students in this remote rural region to teach them how to research, analyze and then use primary sources.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!