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Memory and myth at the Buffalo Bill Museum




Aoki, Eric, author
Ott, Brian L., author
Dickinson, Greg, author
Western States Communication Association, publisher

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Few places tell the myth of the American frontier more vigorously than the Buffalo Bill Museum does in Cody, Wyoming. Traveling to the museum through the 'Western' landscape of Wyoming into the foothills of the Rockies prepares visitors for the tale of Western settlement. This narrative, which works to secure a particular vision of the West, draws upon the material artifacts of Cody's childhood and his exploits as scout, Pony Express rider and showman. The museum retells the story that Cody first told to millions at the turn of the twentieth century in his Wild West arena show. In this paper, we argue that the museum privileges images of masculinity and Whiteness, while using the props, films, and posters of Buffalo Bill's Wild West to carnivalize the violent conflicts between Anglo Americans and Native Americans.


Brian Ott was a professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Colorado State University.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 105-108).

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Native Americans
public memory
The American West
national identity
Buffalo Bill Cody


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