A Smithsonian-affiliated gun museum in Wyoming will undergo an “extreme makeover,” according to museum officials.
The Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody will house more than 7,000 firearms dating back to the 15th century. Museum Curator Ashley Hlebinsky said the new exhibits will trace the evolution of the firearm, military history, western history, modern shooting sports and embellished arms. The facility will also dedicate an “orientation experience” for visitors unfamiliar with firearms that teaches basic principles and safety.
“The reimagining of the Firearms Museum looks at not only how guns were used, but why they’re important to the understanding of our nation’s history,” Hlebinsky said in a press release Tuesday. “There’s no doubt that the CFM is a destination museum for gun enthusiasts, but because of the four other museums on site, we’re possibly the only gun museum in the country who receives a large number of people who are not as familiar with firearms and their histories.”
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West opened in 1917 and is named for the town’s most famous resident: William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who “dreamed of an institution that would teach people by seeing history.” The museum campus includes a facility dedicated to Cody himself, the firearms museum, the Draper Natural History Museum, the Plains Indian Museum and the Whitney Western Art Museum.
“The transformation of the Firearms Museum promises to be extraordinary,” Hlebinsky said. “The hours and hours of interviews, research, planning, and brainstorming are leading to a stunning design — one that will engage and educate everyone from the firearms novice to collectors and researchers.”
“Visitors are sure to appreciate the reimagined museum,” Executive Director Bruce Eldredge said. “We’ll have improved exhibit techniques with a larger proportion of our firearms collection on view, coupled with vastly improved interpretive elements.”
So far, CFM officials have collected $550,000 in federal grant money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services for exhibition planning and upgrades to the facility’s fire and security systems. The renovated CFM will open in June 2019.