The Plains Indian Museum displays around 1,200 artifacts of American Indian culture, such as grizzly-claw necklaces and feathered warbonnets. A Nez Perce buffalo-hide tepee from the mid-1800s evokes the culture’s nomadic life.
The works of Western masters past and present fill the Whitney Western Art Museum. The 1899 black-and-white painting Buffalo Bill in the Limelight by Frederic Remington captures the immense talents of both the painter and his showman subject. Crow Winter Camp, a 20th-century painting by Kevin Red Star, portrays glowing white tepees against an icy blue landscape.
Gun aficionados risk sensory overload at the Cody Firearms Museum. Its display of more than 7,000 guns includes a 15th-century Chinese hand cannon and enough Winchesters and Colts to equip an Old West army. Bruce Eldredge, the center’s executive director and CEO, says his favorite item is an 1888 Gatling gun, a large, rapid-fire weapon on wheels. "It really speaks to me about the ingenuity of America," he says.
Those visionaries who brainstormed on Irma's porch would appreciate above all the Buffalo Bill wing, where posters of the Wild West show bring to life the pageantry that spread Cody's fame throughout the world. Eldredge says he especially enjoys the exhibit featuring film of actual performances—spectacles that left audiences with an impression of wild adventure that survives today. "The show changed the image of the West," Eldredge says.