Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park, the image of the bison stirs in us deep loyalties to the North American landscape. Wild and fundamental, the bison is a familiar part of our shared heritage. The National Cowboy Museum explores this magnificent animal in Ancient. Massive. Wild – The Bison Exhibit.
Within Ancient. Massive. Wild is a traveling exhibit which is organized and circulated by the National Buffalo Foundation in collaboration with the Kauffman Museum of North Newton, Kansas. The Bison Exhibit charts the dramatic changes that occurred to the creature and its habitat, and to the people who depended upon it for their daily existence. This exhibition explores the meaning and significance of this iconic creature from the Plains Indian culture of the 1800s through the commercial and national symbol of the present, and also illuminates the human response that eventually led to the bison’s preservation as a species and a symbol in the 20th century.
Ancient. Massive. Wild also features works from the Museum’s permanent art collection, which offers a rich display of paintings, photographs, and sculpture depicting bison across the many cultures of the American West, from the early 19th century and later Plains Indian ledger drawings to contemporary works of today. In addition, a dedicated education space with activity stations for children and families enhances the experience by providing interactive learning opportunities for children and adults to explore.