Memory and myth at the Buffalo Bill Museum

Greg Dickinson, Brian L. Ott, Eric Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Few places tell the myth of the American frontier more vigorously than the Buffalo Bill Museum does in Cody, Wyoming. Traveling to the museum through the 'Western' landscape of Wyoming into the foothills of the Rockies prepares visitors for the tak of Western settlement. This narrative, which works to secure a particular vision of the West, draws upon the material artifacts of Cody's childhood and his exploits as scout, Pony Express rider and showman. The museum retells the story that Cody first told to millions at the turn of the twentieth century in his Wild West arena show. In this paper, we argue that the museum privileges images of masculinity and Whiteness, while using the props, films, and posters of Buffalo Bill's Wild West to carnivalize the violent conflicts between Anglo Americans and Native Americans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-108
Number of pages24
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume69
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2005

Keywords

  • Buffalo Bill Cody
  • Masculinity
  • Museums
  • National Identity
  • Native Americans
  • Public Memory
  • The American West
  • Whiteness

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