I promise, it was not my intention to visit three different art museums over our three days in Wyoming/Montana. Tippet Rise was always our main destination (read that post here), but the Brinton Museum (post here) was a spur-of-the-moment stop. Then, during our Tippet Rise sculpture tour, our fellow tourists all but insisted that we visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
And I thought what you might be thinking, that the Buffalo Bill Center of the West doesn’t exactly sound like an art museum. Folk lore definitely, natural history maybe, perhaps a try-your-hand-at-rodeo exhibition, but probably not fine art.
I have since discovered that the Buffalo Bill Center contains five museums — not five galleries, but five separate museums — not including a research library and a number of outdoor spaces. The museum closest to my own heart, the Whitney Western Art Museum, boasts an impressive collection of work by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Charlie Russell, N.C. Wyeth and more.
(I have been struggling to figure out if the Whitney Western Art Museum is related to the Whitney in NYC. They are named for the same Gertrude Whitney, but apart from that appear unaffiliated.)
I won’t bore you with too many pictures of art hanging on walls. Suffice to say it’s an extensive collection dedicated to images of the American West.
And juuust when I was wondering why they didn’t have any work by Frederic Remington (the Brinton Museum had been lousy with that western master’s work), I turned a corner to find an entire recreation of Remington’s studio, along with a gallery dedicated to his art.
Dan and I divided and conquered; while I visited the paintings, he visited the newly remodeled Cody Firearms Museum, which apparently houses nearly every model of every gun ever made.
We also toured the Plains Indian Museum together, then took in a Raptor Experience outdoors.
Monte the Eastern Screech Owl above. I’m in love. She kept blinking with one eye at a time, then yawning.
Kateri the Golden Eagle below. I’m also in love, but just fine with keeping a respectful distance.
The day after our Buffalo Bill Center experience (during which we failed to make time for the actual Buffalo Bill Museum), we had a 7-hour drive waiting for us. Luckily we are quite adept at entertaining ourselves. We made three scenic stops along our way to stretch our legs:
Thermopolis, Wyoming: The World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring
(I received a comment on Instagram about the hot spring not being beautiful… perhaps you had to be there?)
In the photo above, you can spot the red float of a group of white water rafters. Some day…
…and below, you can spot a man who spent almost his entire birthday within the confines of a Volkswagen Golf.
Pardon the perplexing pictures, this place is nearly impossible to photograph. It’s a bizarre, alien landscape that I was delighted to learn was once used by Plains Indians as a buffalo jump.
Hell’s Half Acre apparently also stood in as a fictional planet in the movie Starship Troopers. I believe it.
Et voilà, a delightful trip to Montana in the books. We are home now, but we are barely unpacking our luggage — we have one more good romp on the calendar before August is out!