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Buffalo Bill Center of the West Appoints First Female Firearms Curator

Cody, Wyoming (PRWEB) December 04, 2014 — Upon being named Associate Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum—and thereby the first female curator in the country—Ashley Hlebinsky had this to say about the appointment, “I don’t consider myself a groundbreaker at all. Women have always been a part of firearms history and are a growing population in today’s firearms community. And trust me, I’m no Annie Oakley.”


Hlebinsky has a combination of hands-on experiences, research fellowships, internships, and museum employment focusing around the study of firearms. A Pittsburgh native and former competitive ballroom dancer, Hlebinsky had her first experience working with firearms in a museum context at the Soldiers and Sailors National Memorial Hall in her hometown. She completed a BA and MA in American History and Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, where she taught weapons history as part of a military survey course.

Three years prior to her full-time position in Cody, Hlebinsky worked between the Cody Firearms Museum and the National Firearms Collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. In Cody, she has served as a Buffalo Bill Research Fellow, publishing and presenting on the perception of firearms in popular culture; a Cody Firearms Museum Kinnucan Arms Chair Grant recipient, studying the role of women in the industry; an intern; a firearms assistant; Curatorial Resident; Assistant Curator; and now Associate Curator.

In addition to her work at the Cody Firearms Museum, Hlebinsky has become a visible figure in the firearms industry as a firearms writer, historian, and consultant. “To diverse audiences, firearms mean different things, especially within their context,” Hlebinsky notes, “Firearms have always been part of American history and tell rich stories that can spark an interest in even the most uncommon places and individuals. The goal of the Cody Firearms Museum is to present those stories.”

Hlebinsky takes the reins of her new position on January 12, 2015. She replaces longtime firearms scholar and Cody Firearms Curator Warren Newman who is retiring. Newman will continue as Curator Emeritus and Senior Firearms Specialist for the Center.

Read more about the Cody Firearms Museum on the Center’s website. To contact Hlebinsky, e-mail ashleyh(at)centerofthewest(dot)org, or call 307-578-4048.

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.


The Conversation

  • Paul Bonneau says: December 7, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    When the museum rescinds its “no firearms” policy (yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds) I will visit the place. Otherwise it’s just another gun prohibitionist showplace: i.e., “guns belong only in museums”. Who needs that? This shameful policy is entirely at odds with the culture of Wyoming and with the right of self defense. Do you think Buffalo Bill would have approved?

  • Lee Roader says: December 7, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Most excellent!
    Congratulations to Ashley, and I’m sure she will do a great job.

  • Maluka says: December 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Congrats-an obvious good choice.

  • MamaLiberty says: December 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Welcome, Ashley! I’m sure you have a lot to contribute to the museum.

    But do you actually shoot? Wyoming (and the world) needs more active, enthusiastic women to take up shooting, both for self defense and sport.

    Would love to read more about that. What is your personal, hands on experience?

    • Ashley says: December 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      I do shoot! As soon as I realized I wanted to study firearms, I took an NRA basic pistol course. Then I branched out from there shooting historic and modern guns. Basically any opportunity I have to shoot I do it. I’m more of a hobbyist because of a lack of time to train but one of my short term goals is to get certified to instruct. I think its so important to not only know the history of firearms but also be able to practice what I preach.

      Cody hosted Shooting Industry Masters two years and I attended this years and got a chance to shoot all kinds of firearms. And sporting clays is really becoming a favorite of mine.

      We are also working on a contemporary collecting plan so that we can start to collect modern guns so people don’t think there is a magical historical cut off date for collecting. And this way we can continue to grow the collection into the future.

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