Recently, The WON had the pleasure of being onsite for the makeover and grand reopening of the Cody Firearms Museum, in Cody, Wyoming. But even better than being there for the official first day, we got a sneak peek, a behind-the-scenes look the day before the opening. Because we were in the company of military service veterans, Freedom Hunters, we were invited to see the newly renovated $12+ million-dollar museum – which is an integral piece of the overall Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
According to its website, “The new CFM interprets over 800 years of history with more than 10,000 artifacts in 40,000 square feet of space. The exhibits invite visitors to explore how people have used firearms throughout international history, in times of both war and peace. The new museum serves as a foundation for varied audiences to spark additional research and further discussion beyond the institution’s walls.”
Considering that the museum began its fundraising campaign in November 2017, this finished project is truly a feat. The renovations brought a more educational aspect to the site. If you want to learn more about the reasons for the remodel, take a look at our interview with the Robert W. Woodruff curator Ashley Hlebinsky. We think that Ashley’s oversight and young, masterful eyes on the project shine through. She wanted the museum to be a place for newbies to the shooting world, as well as seasoned firearms enthusiasts. It meets the criteria.
You could spend a day in this museum, if you wanted to read every description and the history of each firearm. Pull-out glass display cabinets and drawers augment storage, as well.
Former Army helicopter mechanic Jen Barcklay spent time in the museum with the Freedom Hunters, and met Ashley Hlebinsky. Jen was in awe of the vast collection of weapons, from primitive to modern day.
“We were honored to host veterans and active duty military on July 5th at the Cody Firearms Museum. Many left stories from their time in service that are now a part of the renovated museum. We were also excited to give them the first sneak peek of the museum, a day before it opened to the public!’ said Ashley.
Sergeant Major Dave List, whose unit captured Saddam Hussein, records the story for posterity at the museum, in a new area that serves to document military history – as told and remembered by our veterans.
Note, this is one of the largest collections of firearms in the world. We focused on a woman-centric approach to viewing the museum, which featured posters such as this one by Smith & Wesson.
This piece is one of our favorite ones, a pinfire charm pistol, which is the smallest piece in the collection onsite and hails from Japan.
One of our favorite competition shooters, Julie Golob, is featured at the museum.
You can see her jersey and guns. Well-earned recognition, we believe. You may also recognize Kirstin Joy Weiss, an American trick shooter.
From videos to posters to displays, the role of women in the world of shooting is portrayed throughout the Cody Firearms Museum, as in this display, titled “Feminization.”
And again, here’s another instance of highlighting the contributions of women to the evolution of shooting. Elizabeth “Plinky” Topperwein was the first woman to compete in a National Rifle Association match. She also worked for Winchester for 40 years, starting in the 1920s, alongside her husband, as an exhibition shooter.
TeamWON’s Ashlee Lundvall and her daughter enjoyed the interactive shooting gallery, with a rifle challenge. The museum contains several hands-on exhibits – including shotgun, rifle, Buffalo Bill’s Pistol Gallery (arcade style shooting) and a Gatling gun (from 1883).
Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. She is a contributing editor at "SHOT Business," and her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at ozarkian.com. View all posts by Barbara Baird