Oklahoma City’s storied past – from its shotgun-start beginning to its important role in the cattle industry – is an important part of our community’s identity. If you want to get a better historical understanding of the cowboy culture that helped drive the development of this area, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
The museum is considered “America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture.” You’ll realize the description is an accurate one as you wander through its multiple art and sculpture galleries, stand in front of the poignant 17-foot-tall “End of the Trail” sculpture by James Earle Fraser (which is 100 years old this month) or explore a replica of a Western town for children, called Prosperity Junction, and the Children’s Cowboy Corral. You’ll learn about cowboy culture and gear, Native American history, Western performers, settling the frontier and more.
The museum also organizes an annual chuck wagon gathering and children’s cowboy festival (the next one is scheduled for May 2016). The museum hosts the invitational Prix de West exhibit each year, an event that highlights the world’s best contemporary Western paintings and sculptures. While the next Prix de West is not scheduled until 2016, you can always see the past winners on display at the museum.