National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

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Fountains in front of the imposing entrance to the then named National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in May 1972. National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (May 1972).jpg
Fountains in front of the imposing entrance to the then named National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in May 1972.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, with more than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts. The facility also has the world's most extensive collection of American rodeo photographs, barbed wire, saddlery, and early rodeo trophies. Museum collections focus on preserving and interpreting the heritage of the American West. The museum becomes an art gallery during the annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition and Sale each June. The Prix de West Artists sell original works of art as a fund raiser for the Museum. The expansion and renovation was designed by Curtis W. Fentress, FAIA, RIBA of Fentress Architects.

Museum institution that holds artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, historical, or other importance

A museum is an institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. Many public museums make these items available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. The largest museums are located in major cities throughout the world, while thousands of local museums exist in smaller cities, towns and rural areas. Museums have varying aims, ranging from serving researchers and specialists to serving the general public. The goal of serving researchers is increasingly shifting to serving the general public.

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2018, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.



Bulldogging photo of "Cowboy Morgan Evans", 1927 World Champion Cowboy Morgan Evans.jpg
Bulldogging photo of "Cowboy Morgan Evans", 1927 World Champion

It was established in 1955 as the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum, from an idea proposed by Chester A. Reynolds, to honor the cowboy and his era. Later that same year, the name was changed to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum. In 1960, the name was changed again to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. The American Alliance of Museums gave the museum full accreditation in 2000, when it took on its present name.

Chester Arthur Reynolds, was a Kansas City, Missouri, native and entrepreneur who was once the President of Lee Jeans, and later founded the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

American Alliance of Museums non-profit based in Washington, D.C.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), formerly the American Association of Museums, is a non-profit association that has brought museums together since its founding in 1906, helping develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and advocating on issues of concern to the museum community. AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future.

To maintain the memory of the founder, the museum grants the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award. This prize is granted to a person or institution contributing to the preservation of American West history and heritage.

In 1990, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum established the Chester A. Reynolds Award, named in honor of the founder of the Museum, Chester A. Reynolds. This special award does not include an induction into one of the Museum's three Halls of Fame.


The museum encompasses more than 200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2) of display space. The museum's collection includes over 2,000 works of western art, the "William S. and Ann Atherton Art of the American West Gallery". The 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) exhibit space contains landscapes, portraits, colorful still lifes, and sculptures by 19th- and 20th-century artists. Its over 200 works by Charles Marion Russell, Frederic Remington, Albert Bierstadt, Solon Borglum, Thurmond Restuettenhall, Robert Lougheed, Charles Schreyvogel, and other early artists lead to the Museum's prize collection of contemporary Western art created over the last 30 years by award-winning Prix de West artists. The first winner was a large oil by Clark Hulings, "Grand Canyon - Kaibob Trail", about a mule team barely crossing a Grand Canyon trail in deep winter snow. The collection also includes over 700 pieces by Edward S. Curtis, and over 350 from Joe DeYong.

Art Creative work to evoke emotional response

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Landscape visible features of an area of land

A landscape is the visible features of an area of land, its landforms, and how they integrate with natural or man-made features. A landscape includes the physical elements of geophysically defined landforms such as (ice-capped) mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of land use, buildings, and structures, and transitory elements such as lighting and weather conditions. Combining both their physical origins and the cultural overlay of human presence, often created over millennia, landscapes reflect a living synthesis of people and place that is vital to local and national identity.

Portrait Artistic representation of one or more persons

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

The Hunters' Supper (detail) by Frederic Remington, circa 1909 The Hunters' Supper.jpg
The Hunters' Supper (detail) by Frederic Remington, circa 1909

The historical galleries include the American Cowboy Gallery, a look at the life and traditions of a working cowboy and ranching history; the American Rodeo Gallery, fashioned after a 1950s rodeo arena, provides a look at America's native sport; the Joe Grandee Museum of the Frontier West Gallery exhibits some of the more than 4,500 artifacts once belonging to Western artist Joe Grandee; the Native American Gallery, focuses on the embellishments that Western tribes made to their everyday objects to reflect their beliefs and histories; the Weitzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms houses over 100 examples of firearms, by Colt, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Sharps, Winchester, Marlin, and Parker Brothers.

Artist person who creates, practises and/or demonstrates any art

An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only. The term is often used in the entertainment business, especially in a business context, for musicians and other performers. "Artiste" is a variant used in English only in this context; this use is becoming rare. Use of the term to describe writers, for example, is valid, but less common, and mostly restricted to contexts like criticism.

Colts Manufacturing Company company

Colt's Manufacturing Company, LLC is an American firearms manufacturer, founded in 1855 by Samuel Colt. It is the successor corporation to Colt's earlier firearms-making efforts, which started in 1836. Colt is known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms, most especially between the 1850s and World War I, when it was a dominating force in its industry and a seminal influence on manufacturing technology. Colt's earliest designs played a major role in the popularization of the revolver and the shift away from earlier single-shot pistols. Although Samuel Colt did not invent the revolver concept, his designs resulted in the first very successful ones.

Remington Arms Company, LLC is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition. It was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. Remington is America's oldest gun maker and is claimed to be America's oldest factory that still makes its original product. Remington is the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles. The company has developed or adopted more cartridges than any other gun maker or ammunition manufacturer in the world.

The museum also houses Prosperity Junction, a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) authentic turn-of-the-century Western prairie town. Visitors can stroll the streets, peek in some of the store windows, listen to antique player pianos, and actually walk into some of the fully furnished buildings. The town comes alive with historical figures once a year during the museum's annual holiday open house, "A Night Before Christmas".

Western Heritage Awards

"The Wrangler" in bronze Bronze Wrangler.png
"The Wrangler" in bronze

Every year, the museum gives "The Wrangler", an original bronze sculpture by artist John Free, annually during the Western Heritage Awards to principal creators of the winning entries in specified categories of Western literature, music, film, and television. Past winners have included Owen Wister, William S. Hart, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy, Harry Carey, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Rex Allen, John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Richard Widmark, James Stewart, Buck Taylor, Howard R. Lamar, Ben Johnson, Pernell Roberts, Arthur Allan Seidelman, Skeet Ulrich and Tom Selleck.

Bronze metal alloy

Bronze is a 80+% copper alloy and 90+% copper&tin alloy with often the addition of other metals, such as aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc, and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.

Sculpture Branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions

Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving and modelling, in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast.

Western literature, also known as European literature, is the literature written in the context of Western culture in the languages of Europe, including the ones belonging to the Indo-European language family as well as several geographically or historically related languages such as Basque and Hungarian. Western literature is considered one of the defining elements of Western civilization.

The Rodeo Hall of Fame recipients are not honored during the Western Heritage Awards. They celebrate at another event and inductees receive medallions instead of "The Wrangler".

In 1974, the western painter Arthur Roy Mitchell of Trinidad, Colorado received a special award, the "Honorary Trustee Award", having been cited as "the man who has done the most for southwestern history" through his collective art. [1]

In 1975, the gelding horse Steamboat was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Along with Clayton Danks, the rider, Steamboat is the model of the Wyoming state trademark, Bucking Horse and Rider. [2]

In 2012, Guy Porter Gillette (1945-2013) and his brother William Pipp Gillette (born 1946), sons of the photographer Guy Gillette received the Wrangler Award for Best Original Composition of the year for the Waddie Mitchell song, "Tradeoff." [3]

Halls of Fame

"Cowboy Morgan Evans" 1928 World Series Rodeo Contest entry chit Cowboy Evans World Series Rodeo CONTESTANT.jpg
"Cowboy Morgan Evans" 1928 World Series Rodeo Contest entry chit

The museum includes three halls of fame, including the Hall of Great Westerners for actual people who lived through the frontier era to present. Other halls include the Hall of Great Western Performers, for actors only, and the Rodeo Hall of Fame.

These are a few of the members of the Rodeo Hall of Fame, followed by the year they were inducted:

Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center

The Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center (originally known as the Research Library of Western Americana) opened on June 26, 1965. [4] Today, the center serves as the library and archives of the museum. The center is a closed-stacks library, containing books, photographs, oral histories, and manuscripts focusing on western popular culture, western art, ranching, Native Americans, and rodeo. [5]

Related Research Articles

Charles Marion Russell American painter

Charles Marion Russell, also known as C. M. Russell, Charlie Russell, and "Kid" Russell, was an American artist of the Old American West. Russell created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes set in the Western United States and in Alberta, Canada, in addition to bronze sculptures. Known as 'the cowboy artist', Russell was also a storyteller and author. He became an advocate for Native Americans in the West, for instance supporting the bid by landless Chippewa to have a reservation established for them in Montana. In 1916 Congress passed legislation to create such a reservation, now known as the Rocky Boy Reservation.

The Hall of Great Western Performers is a Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. It is sometimes referred to as the "Western Performers Hall of Fame". It is a 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) presentation that explores the various ways the west has been interpreted in literature and film.

Chris LeDoux American singer

Chris LeDoux was an American country music singer-songwriter, bronze sculptor, and hall of fame rodeo champion. During his career LeDoux recorded 36 albums which have sold more than six million units in the United States as of January 2007. He was awarded two gold and one platinum album certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), was nominated for a Grammy Award, and was honored with the Academy of Country Music Music Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. LeDoux is also the only person ever to both participate and perform at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Western lifestyle Contemporary subculture

Western lifestyle or cowboy culture is the lifestyle, or behaviourisms, of, and resulting from the influence of, the attitudes, ethics and history of the American Western cowboy and cowgirl. In the present day these influences affect this sector of the population's choice of recreation, clothing, and consumption of goods. Today, the Western lifestyle is considered a subculture and includes strong influences from Native American and Mexican American culture.

Earl W. Bascom American-Canadian painter and cowboy

Earl Wesley Bascom was an American painter, printmaker, rodeo performer and sculptor, raised in Canada, who portrayed his own experiences cowboying and rodeoing across the American and Canadian West.

Larry Mahan is an American eight-time rodeo world champion. Mahan won six World All-Around Cowboy Championships and two World Bull Riding Championships in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). The ProRodeo Hall of Fame inducted him in 1979 in the all-around category. It also inducted him as a Legend of ProRodeo in 2010.

Lewis Feild was an American former rodeo cowboy and world champion. Feild competed on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit. He was the World All-Around Cowboy Champion in 1985-87 at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). He was also the World Bareback Riding Champion from 1985-1986. The ProRodeo Hall of Fame inducted him in 1992 in the all-around category.

Red Steagall American poet

Russell "Red" Steagall is an American actor, musician, poet, and stage performer who focuses on American Western and country music genres. He has performed for heads of state, including a special party for President Reagan at the White House in 1983, and has completed three overseas tours for the United States Information Agency to the Middle East, the Far East, and South America.

The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, formerly the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame, is a museum and hall of fame in Fort Worth, Texas. NMWHM takes a look at the people and activities that built the unique culture of the American West, in particular the contributions of Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans. The work of artists who documented the people and events of the time through journals, photographs and other historical items are part of this new collection. These long overlooked materials tell, perhaps for the first time, the complete story. The American West of today still operates on many of the principles and cultural relationships begun so long ago.

Casey Duane Tibbs was an American cowboy, rodeo performer, and actor. In 1979, he was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Great Westerners was established by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1958. Located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S., the Hall was created to celebrate the contributions of more than 200 men and women of the American West. Inductees include explorers, Native American leaders, writers, poets, politicians, statesmen and others.

Benny Reynolds was an American rodeo champion. Born in Twin Bridges, Montana, he was of English descent. Both his mother and father rode saddle broncs and his brothers also competed in rodeo.

Jack Van Ryder was an American cowboy and western artist, his colorful life was a series of cinematic moments, the fodder that inspired his distinctively western art. He punched cows and drove freight wagons. He chased wild horses and rode bucking broncos all the way from the Powder River to the Gila, from Cheyenne to Carson City, from Butte to Bisbee. Ryder's soft pastels colored paintings captured the dusty brooding southwestern twilight skies.

James Kenneth "J.K." Ralston was an American painter of the Old American West whose primary topics were the American West and images of cowboys and American Indians. He also did commercial artwork.

Ulysses Grant Speed was a western sculptor based in Lindon in Utah County, near Provo.

Bruce Douglas "Waddie" Mitchell is an American cowboy poet. He sometimes performs his poems with a guitarist playing in the background. Mitchell has made eight CDs including That No Quit Attitude, Lone Drifting Rider and his most recent, Sweat Equity.He and cowboy singer and friend Don Edwards released The Bard and the Balladeer Live From Cowtown. Mitchell has written four books, Waddie's Whole Load, A Cowboy's Night Before Christmas, Lone Driftin' Rider and a 2015 compilation One Hundred Poems. He was chosen to write a poem describing the West for the 2002 Winter Olympics' Olympic Arts Festival. He is a co-founder of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Warren Granger "Freckles" Brown was a hall of fame American rodeo performer from Wheatland, Wyoming. His career spanned from 1937 to 1974, competing in bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, team roping, and steer wrestling. He was the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) World Bull Riding Champion in 1962. Brown was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for Bull Riding in 1979. Brown was also inducted into the inaugural class of the Bull Riding Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2015. Brown was most famous for riding Tornado, who had an undefeated record of 220 riders. Brown was also a close friend and mentor of Lane Frost.

Trevor Brazile is an American rodeo champion who competes on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). He holds the record for the most National Finals Rodeo (NFR) world champion titles with 24 titles. Brazile won the 24th title in 2018. Brazile also holds the record for the most World All-Around Cowboy Champion titles at 14, breaking the record of 9 titles held by Ty Murray, Murray's last earned in 1998. In 2010, Brazile won his 8th all-around title, surpassing Murray's seven titles in 1998. Murray's titles were won all in rough-stock events, as opposed to Brazile's timed-event wins, and he is still the youngest winner of the title.

Phil Lyne is an American former rodeo cowboy who competed in Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA)/Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) events. Lyne was the RCA Rookie of the Year in 1969. Two seasons later at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), in 1971, he won the World All-Around Cowboy Championship and the World Tie-down Roping Championship. At the NFR in 1972, he repeated as the World All-Around Cowboy champion and added a second World Tie-down Roping Championship. Lyne won his first and only World Steer Roping Championship at the NFR in 1990. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1979.

Guy Allen is a ProRodeo Hall of Fame cowboy and an 18-time World Steer Roping Champion. He competes in rodeos sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). He won the world title for the steer roping event 18 times when competing at the National Finals Steer Roping (NFSR) and also won the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) Average title five times. He had won the title 11 times in a row when Buster Record broke his streak. Allen is also inducted into seven rodeo halls of fame.


  1. A.R. Mitchell Museum exhibits, 150 East Main Street, Trinidad, Colorado
  2. "Questions & Answers". Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  3. Perry L. Williams (January 7, 2014). "Guy Porter Gillette". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  4. Rand, Charles E. (2009). "About the Museum". Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center.
  5. "National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum". 2010. Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center.

Coordinates: 35°32′08″N97°28′59″W / 35.53556°N 97.48306°W / 35.53556; -97.48306