Tattooing practices date back thousands of years and have been passed down for centuries, continuing to evolve with changes in culture and technology. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s new exhibition, Tattooing: Religion, Reality and Regret, explores the body adornment practices from ancient times to present, focusing on ancient tribal tattooing practices and on what tattooing means to people today.
Why do people get tattoos?
The answer varies by person and culture, but for many, a tattoo is a lasting and meaningful ritual meant to represent a belief or commemorate an important event in life.
For National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum guard Greyson Tryon, tattoos are a way of memorializing and remembering life’s events.
“My philosophy on tattoos has been that they don’t all need to have super deep meanings, but I view it as kind of like a skin scrapbook,” Greyson said. “That way, hopefully, when I’m old and grey I can look back and say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s where I was when I was 22, that’s where I was when I was 30.”