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Visions of the American West: Masterworks from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center

October 22, 2011 - March 4, 2012


In a landmark collaboration, Cheekwood and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center bring the epic romance and adventure of the American West to Nashville in Visions of the American West: Masterworks from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. The 200-piece exhibition, which will inhabit every gallery space at Cheekwood, debuts October 22. Its residence at Cheekwood marks the exhibition's inaugural venture away from its home in Cody, Wyoming. (right: Carl Rungius, ca. 1919, Throwing a Steer, Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches)

"The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is one of the best destinations in the world to learn about the West," said Jochen Wierich, Cheekwood's Curator of Art. "Native Americans and Cowboys, landscape, technology, history, art, and, of course, Buffalo Bill -- the Buffalo Bill Historical Center tells the story of all these facets of the West through a vast collection contained within five distinct museums."

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center weaves the varied threads of the western experience -- history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and the nature of Yellowstone -- into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The original Buffalo Bill Wild West Show captivated audiences in Nashville on many occasions, performing here seven times between 1884 and 1909. With this new exhibition, the spirit of Buffalo Bill and the Wild West are returning to Nashville.

"Just as Buffalo Bill's Wild West show was welcomed by roaring crowds in Nashville more than a century ago, Cheekwood anticipates that Nashville and the entire region will receive this show with great energy and enthusiasm," said Jane Offenbach, Cheekwood's President & CEO. "Cheekwood is honored to host the exhibition, and we are eager to welcome everyone to experience the West."

Visions of the American West features distinct sections dedicated to one particular Western experience:

Art: Masterpieces from the Whitney Gallery of Western Art including works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and many others that helped to create a mythic image of the Old West that endures into the present.
Plains Indian Collection: Representing Native American everyday life and cultural traditions preserved in beautifully crafted artifacts. These include tribal objects such as war bonnet, clothing, and weapons from Sioux, Crow, Kiowa, Blackfeet, and other Plains Indian people.
Firearms of the West: The exhibition includes objects from the Cody Firearms Museum that are of historical and aesthetic importance such as a rifle used by George Armstrong Custer, different models of Colt revolver, and a tripod mounted Gatling Gun.
Cowboy Life: Revisits the actual cowboy experience as well as the myth, featuring historic everyday objects, the Mexican Vaquero, the fancier Cowboy "high style," and the West of Pop Culture, including the ten-gallon hat worn by "Hoss" Cartright from Bonanza.
Women of the West: Paying tribute to the women of the West through a select number of items, including the wedding dress of William F. Cody's daughter Arta and the entire outfit of historic cowgirl Etheyle Parry. These specific historic women will be surrounded by paintings, photographs and some everyday objects documenting the life of a ranch woman.
Horse Culture: This gallery will contain beautiful examples of cowboy horse gear, Native American saddle blankets and saddlebags, and a historic saddle owned by President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody: Features personal items, including Buffalo Bill's buckskin shirt, Stetson hat, Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Spider Studebaker Buggy that he acquired in England and brought back to Cody. The Wild West Show that traveled around the world and brought Buffalo Bill international fame is richly documented, including a shotgun and autographed target disc used by cast member Annie Oakley during performances. In Cheekwood's video stalls, visitors will be able to view original footage from the Wild West Show.
Yellowstone: Buffalo Bill Historical Center and its Draper Museum of Natural History are dedicated to the documentation and preservation of the larger Yellowstone region. Large-format photographs and a video will introduce visitors in Nashville to the wildlife, landscape, and human experience of Yellowstone Country.

"We believe Nashville is the ideal American city -- and Cheekwood the ideal arts institution -- to host Visions of the American West," said Bruce Eldredge, Buffalo Bill Historical Center executive director and CEO. "In this southern center of arts, culture and influence, audiences will connect with and appreciate Visions' singular collection of stories and treasures from the majestic West."

From October 22 through March 4, 2012, Visions of the American West is open during regular hours to Cheekwood members and non-members. Guided museum tours are offered every Saturday at 1:00 pm for no additional charge, and no reservations are required. Special Wild West Weekends will include lectures, demonstrations, entertainment, and Kids Corral children's activities. Details, schedules, and ticket information available at www.cheekwood.org.


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