The Cody Firearms Museum is a part of the Buffalo Bill Center for the West, and one of the very best firearms museums in the US (if not the world). It incorporates a number of substantial donated collections, the most impressive of them being the Winchester factory collection. Thanks to this, the museum has a fantastic array of Winchester production and prototype arms, as well as an extensive archive of factory documentation and correspondence. Unlike many museums, it also makes a concerted effort to actually display as much of its collection as possible – currently approximately 4,000 of its 7,000 weapons are visible to the public.
A project is in progress to completely renovate the galleries, bringing yet more of the collection into displays, and improving the interpretation and information presented with the guns. I’m really excited to see that process take shape; I think there is a tremendous potential for it to to really set a bold standard for arms museums everywhere. The Curator, Ashley Hlebinsky, is an energetic and passionate advocate for the institution (I will be posting an interview with her next Monday), and has a great vision for the institution!
The Museum is located in Cody, Wyoming and is part of a larger overall institution, the Buffalo Bill Center. Alongside the firearms museum there is also a natural history museum, a museum of the Plains Indians, a Western art museum, and a museum dedicated to Buffalo Bill Cody himself and his Wild West Show. This is an assortment sure to provide plenty of interesting diversion for any follow travelers who may not want to spend a day in a firearms museum (I know, who wouldn’t want to do that?). You can have a great time there, and then continue your trip into the glorious Yellowstone National Park just a few miles west of Cody. Or if you are more interested in human events than nature, two and a half hours to the northeast is the site of the epic Battle of the Little Bighorn (or as its victors called it, the Battle of the Greasy Grass).
But whatever finds you in Wyoming or Montana, the Cody Firearms Museum is a must-see stop for anyone interested in firearms history and development.