Several years ago I wrote about a few I've already checked off my "bucket list," and a few I would like to visit someday. Well, I've added two more to that list.
I'd also like to know what western museums you all have visited or still have on you bucket list.
One of the finest and most remarkable western museums I've ever visited was the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. I spent not hours, but two full days there and with so much to see and do, I could have gone again and again. Founded in 1917, the complex of five museums include Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indians Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, the Draper Natural History Museum and the Cody Firearms Museum. Preserving the legacy and vision of Col. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, the center is the oldest and one of the most comprehensive museum complexes of the West.
Don't confuse the aforementioned with another museum, The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado which I've also visited. It has a number of permanent exhibits about Buffalo Bill Cody's life and times as well as special temporary exhibits every year. Of course, the most important exhibit on-site is Buffalo Bill's grave. By his request, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain in 1917, overlooking the Great Plains and the Rockies.
Many of you who are historic railroad buffs would thoroughly enjoy spending a day as I and hubby did at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.(Mind you, my beloved is used to being dragged around museums and even a ghost town or two!) For Hell on Wheels fans the museum has the Transcontinental Gallery on display through August 31, 2016. With props and costumes on loan from Legends Memorabilia & Auctions, the focus of this exhibit is to demonstrate how the fictional Hell on Wheels program has sparked interest in the actual series of events that led up to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
The locomotive collection in the Railroad Museum contains 19 steam locomotives dating from 1862 to 1944. The Museum’s locomotives illustrate the development of steam technology from its early years in the mid-nineteenth century through its apogee and climax in the 1940s. The engines range in size from the diminutive Southern Pacific No. 1, “C.P. Huntington,” to the million-pound giant, Southern Pacific articulated cab-forward No. 4294. Fewer than 30 full-size steam locomotives built prior to 1880 exist in the United States. The Museum has five of these, including Central Pacific Railroad locomotive No. 1, “Gov. Stanford.” While the locomotive collection of the California State Railroad Museum is extensive, only a portion is on public exhibition at any one time. The remaining engines are either undergoing restoration or awaiting restoration in the Museum’s shop facilities.
While in Sacramento, a must see for me was the Wells Fargo Museum at the Capitol Mall. At the time I was writing Book 2 of my Wheels of Destiny, titled Destiny's Journey, a story about a Wells Fargo detective. (No, I didn't name my hero after the star of the old TV western, Tales of Wells Fargo, though I remember the handsome actor, Dale Robertson well!)
Not only did the museum have an authentic 1866 Abbot-Downing stagecoach, but also a working telegraph line, real gold specimens of the area and artifacts, documents, furnishings and photos of Wells Fargo history. I also visited Wells Fargo History Museum in the Hastings building in Old Historic Sacramento where Wells Fargo opened its second office over 160 years ago.
As for my not yet visited "bucket list" of museums, here's five more that I'd like to check off.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. This facility has more than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works, artifacts and regalia as well as boasting the world's most extensive collection of American rodeo photographs, barbed wire, saddlery and early rodeo trophies.
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, TX. This museum showing how rough and daring cowgirls are has my vote! The museum is dedicated to honoring women of the American West who have displayed extraordinary courage and pioneering fortitude.
Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, KS. Located on the original site of the Boot Hill Cemetery, the museum provides visitors with a nostalgic trip back to when Dodge City was a "wild and wooly" cowtown, where millions of Texas longhorn cattle came up the well known Western Cattle Trail and other famous trails.
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art that opened 2018 in the city of St. Petersburg, Florida where I grew up. The museum features over 500 modern and historic works of art that evoke the spirit of a wide-open frontier and the beauty of life in the American West. I can't wait to visit it!
Gall-Sitting Bull-Crazy Horse Bronze
by John Coleman
The Golden Spike National Historical Park located in Promontory, Utah. It commemorates the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad where the Central Pacific Railroad and the first Union Pacific Railroad met on May 10, 1869. The final joining of the rails spanning the continent was signified by the driving of the ceremonial Golden Spike.
Replicas of the Union Pacific No. 119 & the Jupiter at the last spike site.
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!
Born in Nebraska, Cheri Kay Clifton loved researching the Oregon Trail, historically known as the "Gateway to the West." Her passion for those brave pioneers, Native Americans and 19th Century America led her to write the epic western historical Wheels of Destiny Trilogy. Cheri is married to her high school sweetheart and has one grown son. I'm currently writing the third book in the Wheels of Destiny Trilogy which includes already published Book 1, Trail To Destiny and Award Winning Book 2, Destiny’s Journey.
"The Old West isn't just a time or place, it's a state of mind."
"I get ideas, do a lot of research, then breathe life into my characters. I like strong heroines, but lovable; strong heroes, but vulnerable."
Reviews from Easychair Bookshop judges: "A must read western romance." "A 10/10 read." "Action, adventure, romance at its very best."