More than 28,000 Western and American Indian art works and artifacts are on display in Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which has been widely described as America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture.
Founded in 1955 as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the museum’s stated mission is to preserve and interpret the evolving history and culture of the American West for the education and enrichment of adults and children alike.
Since it opened, more than 10 million visitors from around the world have come to the museum to view work by such eminent artists as Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell and James Earle Fraser, whose revered sculpture, The End of the Trail, has become the iconic symbol of the museum.
Permanent exhibits include:
- The Jack and Phoebe Cook American Cowboy Gallery, which is designed to feel like the interior of an old ranch house. Here visitors can check out such cowboy tools of the trade as saddles, spurs, bits and branding irons.
- Prosperity Junction, offers the chance to step back in time for an evening stroll in a replica turn-of-the-twentieth-century cattle town, complete with new railroad depot and cattle car.
- Cowboy Corral is an interactive discovery area especially loved by children. And no wonder! In this part of the museum children are encouraged to don chaps and spurs, get their picture taken on a stationary horse and listen to the museum’s resident cowboy talk about life on the range.
- Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center (DRC), home to the museum’s archival and photographic collections, institutional records and library. These collections span centuries and include over 42,000 books; 700,000 photographs; dime novels, manuscripts, maps, film posters, movies and more. Included here, in addition to those who actually lived in the old West, are the modern authors, directors and artists who’ve been inspired by it. The DRC is only open to the public by appointment from 10:00AM to 4:00PM, Monday through Friday.
Temporary exhibits are always available and change often. The upcoming schedule can be seen here.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is home to a popular and extremely well-stocked gift store and The Museum Grill that is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Admission is $12.50 for adults, $9.75 for students with valid IDs, $5.75 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and under are free. There is no charge for parking.