Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum has been declared one of the Top 10 best western museums in the nation, according to the September issue of True West magazine.
In the list which rated the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyo., as the nation’s top western museum, Cowtown was listed fifth, coming in ahead of the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, which was listed as seventh and Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo., which was listed as tenth.
Cowtown was the only Kansas museum included in the list.
The article said “Museums across the West are embracing an ever-widening range of stories to interpret — from the geology and paleontology of the landscape to the cultural materials of Western film and Western art … Significant milestones were reached this year.”
It also noted that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail which helped create Wichita’s legacy as a cowtown.
“Wichita has a remarkable history in the cattle industry and the Chisholm Trail,” wrote True West executive editor Bob Boze Bell. “Old Cowtown continues to do a stellar job of telling the stories of the people and times that make the region so special. It’s truly a great Western museum.”
The magazine is on stands now.
The magazine noted Cowtown had expanded some of its exhibits on saddles, harnesses and livery stables. Its also celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Chisholm Trail with special events, demonstrations and exhibits.
Other museums in the top 10 included:
▪ The Witte Museum in San Antonio which immerses visitors to the ecological zones and changing landscapes of Texas under a blue sky — from dinosaurs to rock art and geology.
▪ Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which includes the world’s largest Western film graphic arts.
▪ The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyo., which has included in its artifacts some of Wyoming’s most honored artifacts — a war shirt, a Blackfeet chief’s shirt and leggings, a Blackfeet Grizzly Bear shirt and a Lakota woman’s beaded dress.
▪ The Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas; the Silver City Museum in Silver City, New Mexico; and the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, S.D.
“It is an honor to be on the list and it is a reflection of how much we have tried to give the public what they want,” said Jacky Goerzen, Cowtown’s director. “We are educating, entertaining and staying true to the history. This is a reflection of that.”