“Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second and maybe not the third… but keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you will hit the bullseye of success.” – Annie Oakley
The Annie Oakley Society, founded in 2010, is made up of women leaders and philanthropists who, like Annie Oakley, play a significant role in shaping their communities. Working with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Annie Oakley Society helps to build and sustain world-class educational experiences to teach children and families the rich history of the American West.
Lynn Friess and Cathy Keating, Co-Founders and National Co-Chairs of the Annie Oakley Society wanted to start the AOS to help the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum “focus more on education for children and families…AOS could be the mechanism to provide that leadership,” explains Cathy.
With that goal in mind, Lynn and Cathy spearheaded an ambitious outdoor expansion for AOS and the Museum. Lynn describes that after over a year in the planning, “Finally, we had the support to really plan the outdoor experience on land that was below the Museum,” That project became known as Liichokoshkomo’, pronounced “Lee-cho-kosh-ko-MO.”
Liichokoshkomo’ is more than 100,000 square feet dedicated to learning and family fun. Engaging activities and learning by doing bring history to life for museum guests of all ages, with emphasis on purposeful play.
Liichokoshkomo’ offers STEAM activities, guided learning and expert-led classes to give families a different way to experience history, culture and diversity.
In addition to preserving Western heritage and supporting children’s education, the members of the Annie Oakley Society honor a woman of significance at their annual luncheon and award. This award is a way to show respect and admiration for outstanding women, who through true grit and determination, strive to make a difference while leaving a lasting legacy for us all.
Lynn explains how, “AOS became a go-to-Luncheon; a great way to honor a woman who had grown up like Annie, under very difficult circumstances, beat the odds and became famous for something special…like Sandra Day O’Conner.”
“Past history has not focused on the accomplishments of significant women to the degree that inspires impressionable young women. This gives the AOS an opportunity to bring light to significant modern heroes who are often quietly known difference-makers,” Cathy proudly states.
Annie Oakley was a 19th-century American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter who rose to fame in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and played a significant role in shaping the future of women. As a female pioneer, she combined talent, skill, femininity and humility to achieve success as a businesswoman, athlete and wife.
Cathy describes Annie’s inspiration as, “She lived her motto, “AIM HIGH,” when she was a child living in desperate conditions and she created her own path forward. She truly dreamed big and never gave up. She also gave back to causes that she believed in and was a patriot through and through. We have the opportunity to use her as a shining example for anyone suffering through challenging times… like so many are today!”
The Future of AOS
“Education of the Code of the West is immensely important these days…honor, integrity, truth, your word is your bond, honoring your parents… all the wonderful codes of the West need to be shown and told to the generations,” Lynn describes the continuing mission of AOS.
Cathy elaborates on the future of AOS, “With the funds raised from Annie Oakley Society memberships and fundraising efforts, we are able to provide a unique, one-of-a-kind, hands-on/minds-on experiences unlike anything available anywhere else in the world. We can combine character building (Code of the West) with fun and relevant STEM, culture and historical experiences in a fun and imaginative way.”
You can help support the future of AOS and its mission of hands-on education of children and empowering and inspiring the next generation of women through a donation or by becoming a member of AOS. Be a part of the future as we help explore and better understand the past.
Annie Oakley said it best, “Aim high.”
Want to teach your kids more about Annie Oakley? Grab a copy of “Who Was Annie Oakley?” by Stephanie Spinner. Discover more Annie Oakley products in The Museum Store books, bronze statues, scarves and more.