The Durham Museum

From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
January 30-May 1, 2016

On May 19, 1883, an American legend was born.
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody held his first Wild West show in Omaha, Nebraska. Just a few years later, the show was traveling the world, providing a highly dramatic, highly romanticized glimpse into the fading frontier of the American Old West. Buffalo Bill’s depiction of cowboys, Indians, sharpshooters and rough riders influenced Hollywood and history alike, reshaping the American experience in the process.

The Durham Museum is proud to present From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, an exciting exhibition developed in partnership with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, exploring the contributions of Nebraska and Iowa to the worldwide phenomenon. From the first show in Omaha in 1883, the exhibition will trace the colorful characters, the spectacle, the rise and fall and the lasting impact of the traveling show. The exhibition features numerous artifacts, photographs and rare video footage of one of the show’s final performances.

Among the items on display will be Buffalo Bill’s buckskin coat, personal travel kit, saddle and Nebraska National Guard Medal; a shotgun and Winchester rifle used by Buffalo Bill and his partner in the show; and Annie Oakley’s rifle, glove, pistol case, target disc and balls. From Nebraska to the World offers a unique opportunity to reexamine Buffalo Bill, the American icon, from a local perspective, and will be The Durham Museum’s first exhibition of the exciting 2016 year.

The Durham Museum is proud to partner with the following organizations to present Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Click the thumbnail to view.

The American Indian Experience and Buffalo Bill
A Discussion about Indigenous Performance and the “Wild West”
Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 2pm
Presented by Dr. Kent Blansett and Taylor Keen
Stanley and Dorothy Truhlsen Lecture Hall at The Durham Museum

Buffalo Bill Cody was a complex individual who was both friend and foe to Indigenous life ways, particularly in his role as an iconic bison hunter, yet sincere in his friendships with tribes, such as the Pawnee. Dr. Kent Blansett and Taylor Keen will explore the history and legacy of American Indian participation in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West exhibitions as well as the complex roles, relationships, and politics associated with Indigenous performance. Shifting the spotlight from Buffalo Bill to American Indian performers offers the opportunity to view the significance and the international presence of the “Wild West” through another perspective.
*Reservations are appreciated and regular museum admission applies. Please call 402-444-5071
or email to reserve your spot.

About Dr. Kent Blansett
Kent Blansett is a descendant of five Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi. He is an Assistant Professor of History and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Blansett earned both his Ph.D. and MA in History with Distinction from the University of New Mexico. He is the past recipient of numerous fellowships from the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Newberry Library Fellowship, and more recently served as the Katrin H. Lamon Fellow with the School for Advanced Research. He has published numerous articles on his research including “When the Stars Fell from the Sky: The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War,” which appeared in the critically acclaimed anthology Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West. His publications have also appeared in numerous academic journals, anthologies, academic journals, and Indian Country Today. Blansett’s first book is a biography about one of the leaders of Alcatraz takeover of 1969 which sparked the larger Red Power movement and is tentatively entitled A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972. His teaching and research interests include American Indian History, American Western History, and Modern American History.

About Taylor R. M. Keen
Taylor Keen is a full time lecturer in the Heider College of Business Administration in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Creighton University, and a faculty member of Creighton’s Native American Studies program. Keen is also President of Living Red, LLC, an entity whose mission is to propagate tribal seed sovereignty, battle for tribal sacred geography and to seek cultural revitalization among tribal peoples. Currently, Keen is teaching a practicum course entitled “The Sacred Economy of Indigenous Seeds” and through Living Red he is embarking on a journey with indigenous seeds of the upper Missouri River tribes to grow, harvest and celebrate the cosmology of the 4 Sisters (corn, bean, squash, and sunflower). Additionally, from his book-in-progress, he incorporates teachings of the sacred masculine / feminine of tribal peoples including the cosmology of Mother Corn and the Earth Mother goddess.

Keen holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College as well as a Master’s of Business Administration and Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University, where he served as a Fellow in the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. Taylor is the author of the book-in-progress entitled “Rediscovering America: Sacred Geography, the Ancient Earthen Works and the Real Story of America”.  Keen is Trustee of the Nebraska State Historical Society, Board member Emeritus of the Humanities Nebraska, and Chairman of the Blackbird Bend Corporation (The Omaha Nation of Nebraska and Iowa’s Economic Development Corporation).

Culturally speaking, Taylor is one of 4 “Tails” of the traditional UmoNhoN Society, a member of the Omaha Eagle Whistle Carrier Society and an inductee of the Kiowa Taipiah Gourd Dance Clan. Taylor is a lifelong traditional dancer, singer, and a seasoned Chautauqua historical interpreter who portrays Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca Nation.

Cowboy Up!
January 30 – March 20, 2016
Designed with the youngest cowpokes in mind, Cowboy Up! is an interactive western-themed experience exploring the world of cowboys, horses and all things “wild west.”

Up Close with Buffalo Bill
January 30, February 27 and March 26, 9-10AM
Join local experts on the last Saturday of the month for a special tour and commentary of From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Space is limited on these tours (25) so please make reservations by calling 402-444-5071 or email
Saturday, January 30 – Max Sparber, Research Specialist at The Douglas County Historical Society and playwright of Buffalo Bill’s Cowboy Band.
Saturday, February 27 – Jeff Barnes, Historian and Author of The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill. Book signing will follow tour.
Saturday, March 26 – Dr. Heather Fryer, Associate Professor, Fr. Henry W. Casper SJ Professor of History, Director, America Studies Program at Creighton University.
Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Bash!
Saturday, February 27, 10AM-2PM
Ya’ll are invited to a knee-slappin, boot-scootin birthday bash to celebrate Buffalo Bill’s 170th birthday. Pan for gold, learn to lasso, use a telegraph and gather round the Earth Lodge to learn Indian lore. Visit the Root Beer Saloon and BBQ shack for some wild-west grub. Plus…miniature horses! We reckon you better not miss this rip-roaring party. Western wear encouraged!


*Buffalo Bill, Performance and Selling the American West
Presented by Dr. Elaine Nelson, Associate Professor at The University of Nebraska Omaha, specializing in the North American West
Tuesday, February 23
5:30PM – Exhibit viewing, cash bar
6:30PM – Lecture
Stanley and Dorothy Truhlsen Lecture Hall

At the turn of the century, the idea of American exceptionalism unfolded on Buffalo Bill’s stage, and it captivated audiences worldwide. The prominent theme of this story came to life through the people, events and places central to the “conquest” of the American West. This presentation will focus specifically on some of these places, as well as the experiences of Native Americans whom Buffalo Bill employed to perform in his “Wild West” exhibit shows.

*The Buffalo Bill Experience
Presented by Jeff Norman
Tuesday, March 15
6:30PM – Lecture
Stanley and Dorothy Truhlsen Lecture Hall

Colorado-based Buffalo Bill reenactor and impersonator “Gunny” Jeff Norman guides audiences down the untamed frontier trail that was Buffalo Bill Cody’s life, in a costumed living history presentation that is as entertaining as it is informative!

*Space is limited and registration is required. Please contact The Durham Museum at 402-444-5071 or email to reserve your spot today!

*Tour Two: Exhibitions at The Durham Museum and Joslyn Art Museum
Sunday, March 20; Tuesday, April 5; Sunday, April 10
Enjoy two unique perspectives on the historic American West. Your tour will include both From Nebraska to the World: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West at The Durham Museum and Go West! Art of the American Frontier at Joslyn Art Museum. All tours begin at Joslyn Art Museum at 11AM; guests provide their own transportation to The Durham Museum where the tour begins at 1PM. Make a day of it by enjoying lunch at either location.
Tour prices: $10 Joslyn/Durham Members; $15 General Public
*Space is limited and advanced registration is required. Lunch not included. Register at For more information, call 402-661-3862 or email

These tours are part of Westward O – A city-wide celebration of the American West. Visit for events, joint partner programs and discounts, and experience all things West in Omaha! Join in the conversation at #westwardomaha