Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day 3 - Cody

Weather: overcast and mid-40s
Steps walked: Shaun - 5,374; Shannon - 5,417
Varmints: only a magpie :(

Today was an indoor day, thus the lack of varmints. We had a leisurely breakfast in our cabin and then went straight to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. 

The Center is actually five museums in one: the Whitney Western Art Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, and Cody Firearms Museum. We went to three of the above. Can you guess which? If you said the first three, you would be correct. 

Of course, Shaun and her herons; Shannon is less impressed.

The Whitney Western Art Museum is named after Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (one of those Vanderbilts), who was a sculptor and mother to the major benefactor of the museum, Cornelius Venderbilt Whitney. She also founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. She thought that Western art was truly American art and so should be supported. Many of the works of art in the museum were from her collection, and a bronze sculpture of Buffalo Bill at the entrance to the Center was done by Whitney. Unfortunately, we had just visited the National Museum of Wildlife Art the day before, and we decided that overall we liked that museum better.



After viewing the art, we decided to have some tea (because that's just what you do after looking at art!), and as we were on our way to the Plains Indian Museum, we decided to check out a courtyard with sculptures in it. A big group of people came into the courtyard with us, and we thought they were on a guided tour, but then we got to the little amphitheater where they were sitting and found three women with raptors on their arms! Apparently the natural history museum has a raptor program in which they house and care for six raptors that can no longer care for themselves, including a golden eagle, owl, and the three raptors we were introduced to, a red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon, and a turkey vulture. It was a super interesting presentation, and the birds were just beautiful. What a lucky occurrence!

A sculpture made out of polished and unpolished alabaster. This picture does not do the intricacy of the work justice.

From there we visited the Plains Indian Museum and were both impressed by the resiliency of the many people who make up the tribes on the Plains and depressed by how poorly they have been treated. Their cultures are fascinating, and their material culture especially is elaborate and lovely. The museum was well done and the exhibits interesting.


Our final stop at the Center was the Draper Natural History Museum, which was better than we were expecting. Shaun was worried that it was just going to be a bunch of stuffed dead animals, but the museum really gave us an in-depth look at the geology, biology, zoology, and ecology of the area around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. The exhibits were arranged in a downward spiral emulating the changes in the landscape as the altitude got lower. It was pretty interesting and a good preparation for our entry into the parks tomorrow.

We finished the day by checking out some of the shops Cody had to offer, including a really great boutique that was our kind of place. Then, we ended the night with a movie. Not a bad day, though sadly varmintless. Hopefully, we'll make up for the lack when we head back into Yellowstone tomorrow!

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