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The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum Essay

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Updated: Sep 9th, 2022

Arts, culture, and history are closely connected, as these are some of the major pillars of the development of humanity. People’s culture is formed in the course of the historical development of the society, and arts are a reflection of the transformations that take place along the road. Museums that combine all these elements are true sanctuaries for me because I have an opportunity to obtain a complete or, at least, a big picture of the evolvement of a nation or a group of people. The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum was an obvious choice for me when surfing Google Arts and Cultures. I have children who, luckily, have similar interests, so I believe we will explore the museum in detail together. I would like them to see different facets of American history so that they could better understand some traits of the American culture.

Texts

The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum exhibits numerous works of art and historical artifacts. Every single object in the museum is worth detailed analysis, but I would like to focus on several works of art. When speaking about American history and visual evidence, photography is the first thing coming to my head. I am accustomed to viewing various recordings and pictures depicting Americans’ life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Paintings produce a specific effect, making the viewer acknowledge the fact that the featured themes are a part of history.

One of the artworks to be mentioned is Hunter’s Supper by Frederic Sackrider Remington, created in 1909 (“Hunter’s Supper”). The medium the artist used is oil on canvas, and the dimension of the work is 27 x 30 inches. The overall tone of the painting is rather dark, which seems but natural as the nighttime depicted. However, the choice of the tone and colors is also linked to the peculiarities of that epoch. Life at that time was full of dangers and the darkness of the unknown. Brave hunters tried to keep themselves busy with cooking or talking to forget about the terrifying thought they might have experienced. The composition of the work of art is suggestive, at least, as it seems to me. The fire is in the center while the cowboys are depicted in a diagonal from the east to the west. The eastern part is lighter and seems safer and more civilized, and two men in the western part are almost in the wilderness of the west.

Another work, The Scalp, is a sculpture created by the same artist in 1898 (“The Scalp”). The sculpture depicts a triumphant Native American holding a scalp of his enemy in his right hand. Although Native Americans were mainly depicted as savages, who were to be civilized or destroyed, this sculpture produces another impression. The artist creates a traditional heroic artwork with a hero on his horse. On the one hand, a strong and courageous warrior is worth admiration, the ritual that seems savage fills the viewer with terror. The posture of the Native American is similar to numerous Western heroes, but the object in his right hand brings mixed fillings to the fore. Again, this piece makes the visitor think of the dangers all people who inhabited or colonized the territories had to encounter. Life was very hard, and only brave or desperate people could succeed.

The two artworks are also instrumental in defining and explaining the essence of the American Dream. People had to work hard and be courageous to move forward in order to accomplish their goals. When looking at these pieces and discussing them with children, it is possible to address such aspects as brevity, wisdom, collaboration, empathy, danger, suffering, dream, hard work, and success. Of course, the interactions between different groups also arise as topics for immediate analysis.

Context

The setting of my tour is the National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum that was founded in distant 1955 (“The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum”). The museum aimed at preserving artifacts related to the history of the American West. The museum serves as an educational platform for all those interested in the topic. Each artifact and work of art in the museum has interpretive materials, so viewers are unlikely to feel lost. These interpretive details help observers to understand the contexts and gain insights into the history of the USA.

Almost all artifacts and artworks are properly protected to preserve them for further generations. Glass shields prevent any types of dust contamination or physical harm. The temperature and even lighting also serve this purpose, because the museum is committed to telling the story to as many generations as possible. Technology is used to ensure the protection of artifacts as well as the creation of the necessary atmosphere. Clearly, all systems work well to preserve all the objects. At the same time, light and sound contribute to the development of the sense of the wild West.

I would also like to add that technology makes all these marvels of history and art closer to millions. Without leaving my place, I managed to visit one of the most outstanding museums in the country. Of course, the digital tour can hardly evoke similar emotions to the ones experienced in a museum. However, I could see dozens of works and learn about the life in the American West. I could not see the texture or smell of the pieces, but I grasped the overall tone of the epoch. Therefore, it is possible to state that technology helps people learn and share knowledge, explore the world, and understand its laws.

Take-Aways and Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to stress that the virtual tour can make a person’s life brighter and filled with more knowledge and experience. When starting my work on this assignment, I was eager to explore an interesting place. Nevertheless, this experience went much beyond my expectations. As mentioned above, I have always seen a clear link between history, culture, and arts. I could explore this link one more time when visiting the virtual museum. One of the takeaways of this experience is also related to the course content. People live their lives and leave different types of evidence of their existence. The development or decline of a society can be easily traced with the help of historical artifacts and artworks. As for arts, people manage to express themselves in different ways, making the life of the rest more complete as well. When we view an artwork, we co-create as we add meanings to this piece. Moreover, viewers create the value of the objects, because, without them, things would be a part of the physical world with no meaning.

References

“Hunter’s Supper.” Google Arts & Culture, n.d., Web.

Google Arts & Culture, n.d., Web.

Google Arts & Culture, n.d., Web.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum." September 9, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-national-cowboy-western-amp-heritage-museum/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'The National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum'. 9 September.

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