The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas is a one of a kind experience. The museum is the only one in the world that honors the women of the American West and preserves their history through interactive exhibits and galleries.
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The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame began with a visionary group dedicated to preserving the history and accomplishments of the women of the American West in 1975. The first space was in the Deaf Smith County Library and by 1982, with the collection growing, the museum was moved into a private home. The search for a new permanent home began in earnest in 1993. Lead by Margaret Formby, the museum Director, the mission of the museum became one of sharing history, not just preserving it.
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame had its grand opening on June 9, 2002 in the Fort Worth Cultural District on the museum of Science and History Campus. This permanent facility was designed by David. M. Schwarz with wild rose finials and sculptural architecture. The building was also designed to be expanded easily in the future. Renovations were done in 2015 with more renovations planned.
There are fees for both parking and admission at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Parking is free for museum members and based on availability. The museum has varying hours depending on the season with hours and prices listed online.
The Collections in the National Cowgirl Museum holdings document and preserve the history of the women who impacted the American West. The women honored in the collection exemplified the pioneering spirit of the time and made significant accomplishments in history. Artists, ranchers, photographers, athletes, and many other groups of women are part of the artifacts and documents in the collection. The women honored in the Hall of Fame can be viewed online as well.
Artifacts- There are more than 5,000 objects in this collection that is on display to the public through curated exhibitions. Most of the artifacts in the museum belonged to the women honored in the Hall of Fame. This collection documents the history of the early pioneering days and westward expansion of the United States and cowgirl’s effect on pop culture today. Annie Oakley’s wedding ring, clothing designed by Nudie Cohn and weapons owned by infamous cowgirls are a few highlights of the artifacts collection.
Photographs- National Cowgirl Hall of Fame members, historic cowgirls, and other images make up the historic and modern 6,000-piece photography collection. Noted as one of the most comprehensive collections of photographs of American west woman, visitors can see photographs of Annie Oakley, Rodeo photographs and much more.
Library and Archives- The contributions of the women of the American west are documents and collected in the archives collection at the research library. These documents are noncirculating and are available by appointment to qualified researchers, scholars, educators, and students. There are more than 2,000 books both by and honoring the Hall of Fame members, the history of women pioneers, and the ranching and performance industries. Sound recordings and videos are available through the archival collection and previously unpublished works, scrapbooks oral histories, and other mementos from the 200 hall of fame members.
The collection is divided into exhibit galleries:
· Kinship with the Land
· Hall of Fame Gallery and Honorees
· Hitting the Mark: Cowgirl and Wild West Shows
· Grand Rotunda
· Annie W. Marion Gallery
· Claiming the Spotlight Gallery
· Into the Arena
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame provides many educational resources to the community on the history of women in the American West in addition to the exhibitions that are curated by museum staff.
School Tours- Students are welcomed to the museum and hall of fame for field trips. Tours can be scheduled at least 5 days in advance.
Community Groups- Community groups such as Girl Scouts can book tours or participate in patch programs at the museum. There is an official National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame patch for Girl Scouts.
Outreach- The National Cowgirl Museum can come to the community through video conferences that engage in distance learning, and the travelling trunk—available for rent to educator use in classrooms. The museum also has staff available for speaking or lecture events.
Camps- Summer camps are offered at the museum with different themes. Camps are held on Fridays. Registration is required and camps are geared towards ages 6-10 although younger or older siblings have opportunities to join as well. Details on camps can be found on the museum website.
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame gift shop is available online through the museum website. Visitors will find merchandise and gifts relating to the southwest and cowgirl history including art, jewelry, books, and clothing.
1720 Gendy Street, Fort Worth, Texas, 76107, Phone: 817-336-4475