CODY — The Cody Firearms Museum (CFM) at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West unveils its major — and much-anticipated — makeover on July 6. Home to one of the largest collections of firearms in the world, the museum’s reopening follows an eight-month, $12 million full-scale renovation, including major investments in advanced technology and experiential learning.
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.
Visitors to the redesigned museum may experience simulation technology and interactive microscopes designed to showcase the evolution of firearms and provide hands-on lessons in firearms safety. Other attractions include a state-of-the-art documentary on the soldier, civilian, financial, and global costs of war, as well as a space for veterans and active military to share their stories and document their history.
“The new CFM is designed to appeal to all visitors, whether they are familiar with firearms or completely new to the topic,” said Ashley Hlebinsky, the Robert W. Woodruff curator of the Cody Firearms Museum. She adds, “While there are widely varying opinions on the subject of firearms, legislation, and politics, the museum is a space that allows visitors to learn and discuss the history of firearms as a means to inform their own opinions on these artifacts.”
The firearms museum’s Grand Opening is timed to closely follow Cody’s annual Independence Day and Cody Stampede festivities, and so takes place on July 6, free to the public from 4-7 p.m. The event features a historic fly-over by a World War II era C-47 plane; and celebrated former special forces paratrooper Dana Bowman will jump from the plane in honor of the occasion.
From July 14–16, the CFM hosts its third annual symposium, the Kurt Swanson Bucholz’s Arsenals of History, which gathers the world’s most qualified authorities on firearms, including Sean Belair of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Jonathan Ferguson of Royal Armouries, to discuss the past, present, and future of firearms.
Once reopened, the CFM shares the schedule of the Center of the West’s other four museums, open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the summer season. For additional information on the Center’s yearly schedule, visit centerofthewest.org/visit. Learn more about the new CFM at centerofthewest.org/explore/firearms.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody is a complex of five museums and a research library featuring art and artifacts of the American West. Its five museums include the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indians Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and Cody Firearms Museum. Founded in 1917 to preserve the legacy and vision of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and share the story of the authentic American West, the Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the oldest and most comprehensive museum complex of the West. It has been described by The New York Times as “among the nation’s most remarkable museums.”