The Cody Firearms Museum is a sight to behold. If you’re a firearms enthusiast, this museum has enough to have you as excited as a little kid in a toy store.
I was there about a month ago and I didn’t even realize that they had a lower/basement level. So overwhelming was the upper level.
Frankly, the number of cases, guns and exhibits that they have on display was too much for me to take in in just a single visit.
The collections of the firearms museum include around 7,000 firearms, of which about 4,000 are currently on display. They also have over 30,000 firearms related artifacts
The museum is divvied up into two main sections. The first includes galleries of the different firearms manufacturers. These exhibits are quite exhaustive, particularly of the American manufacturers.
Winchester was a major contributor to the museum, so that section is quite comprehensive. I believe that just about every gun ever made by Winchester is in the collection.
The second part of the museum is perhaps the more interesting to the average person. It is a chronological tour through the history of the development of the firearms, beginning with crossbows and early weapons. The galleries continue through the ages, all the way up to present day advancements in firearm technology.
You can also see some of the early black powder “assault rifles”. These were multi-shot guns that many anti-gun advocates either choose to ignore and are ignorant of their existence. So much for the notion that the Second Amendment was only written with single shot muskets in mind.
Finally he heads downstairs to the basement collection. These rooms are equally impressive, with space-saving, sliding double-sided storage units, which show numbers of firearms in each unit from both sides.
Ian closes out with a gallery that displays what he considers to be the “crown jewel” of the entire museum: the Val A. Browning gallery. This exhibit shows the actual guns that Browning himself handmade and sold to the Winchester company. These are the guns that Browning built to demonstrate his patent ideas, which he sold to Winchester.
As Ian mentions, the Buffalo Bill Center for the West is actually a collection of five different museums in one structure. It includes the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, the draper Natural History Museum, the Plains Indian Museum and the Cody Firearms Museum.
These all make for a monumental experience of the culture of the old west. It is really quite incredible.
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