National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Oklahoma City, OK

Hey y’all! Welcome back to another museum post! Today, we’re talking about one of my FAVORITE museums EVER! The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the collection features cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo, Native American art, military history, and so much more!

The museum does an excellent job of representing the diverse groups of people in the American West. For example, did you know there were cowboys in Hawaii?! Or that Hawaii is considered a part of the West?! Keep reading to learn more about this awesome museum! You might even be inspired to make a trip there yourself 🙂

Museum History

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum was founded in 1955. The museum has only grown since then. Millions of people have walked through the front doors to experience the American West for themselves.

#HashtagTheCowboy

May 2021

This photo was taken on my birthday! I got to meet Cowboy Tim at the museum and saw Seth from Marketing, but didn’t realize that’s who he was… Sorry Seth… I literally turned and looked at my dad and was like “Oh my goodness! That’s Cowboy Tim from Social Media!” And he was kind enough to stop and let me take a picture with him! Thanks Tim!

My Favorite Pieces

I love so many pieces in this museum. First, the collection is massive and they only display about 10% of what they actually own! That’s crazy! During graduate school, two of my classmates and myself were actually given a tour of the “vault” where they house the other 90% of the collection. It was so cool to see how the pieces are carefully stored and preserved. The curator was extremely knowledgable and patiently answered all of our questions. Then we got to tour the research library and go through some of the scrapbooks in the library for our project! 10/10 would recommend doing research at the Dickinson Research Center!

But back to my favorite pieces in the collection, I think I can narrow it down to four: Albert Bierstadt’s painting, Frederic Remington’s works, the Rodeo Gallery, and Prosperity Junction (the life-size replica town). Keep scrolling to see each and read a short description – they’ll go in the same order as the list!

Albert Bierstadt’s Painting

The painting above was done by artist, Albert Bierstadt. He was known for his landscape paintings. I first encountered Bierstadt’s work in a humanities class at community college. I loved the magnificent scenes he portrayed. I was in awe when I saw this painting in person – it’s massive! I love the colors and all of the details. The closer you look at the painting – the more you see.

I love the Frederic Remington collection. They have several of his sculptures and paintings! You can also find Remington’s pieces in other museums in Oklahoma too! The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art has one of his paintings too – check out that museum review next!

Rodeo Gallery

The Rodeo Gallery is so cool! I did a project on the history of women in rodeo in graduate school and we got to look through some of the primary sources in the Dickinson Research Center – it was amazing! The Rodeo Gallery features the notable men and women in the sport. Many rodeo athletes have been inducted into the hall of fame. I love seeing their awards, fancy outfits & boots, and saddles!

Finally, the museum has a life-size 19th century town on the inside! You can walk through most of the buildings and see what a typical cattle town would have looked like – it is amazing. I find something new in this exhibit every time I walk through it!

Travel Tip: Talk to the docents and security guards in the museum galleries. They’re easy to spot – they wear a white shirt and have a badge on. These people are so kind and knowledgeable about all things concerning the West. I learn something new every time I talk to one of them! Ask them about their story as well because they come from all parts of the US.

Concluding Thoughts

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has been one of my favorite museums since I was a young child. I loved going to the Chuck Wagon festival – sitting on the longhorn, making crafts, and seeing demonstrations of western cooking – but I think I appreciate the museum even more now as an adult. There is so much to see and do in this museum!

They rotate the exhibits often so there is always something new to see! They also have events for people of all ages – kids days, adult book clubs, and festivals. Look at their calendar for more info!

I hope you’ll go visit one of my favorite museums! Happy traveling! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂


Visit

1700 Northeast 63rd St.

Oklahoma City, OK 73111

Phone: (405) 478-2250

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