It’s been a 100 years since Buffalo Bill visited Atlanta. His Wild West Show debuted at the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition at Piedmont Park and returned six times with his rough riders, Indian war reenactments, staged buffalo hunts and the marksmanship of one Annie Oakley. Buffalo Bill returns as part of the High Museum of Art Go West: Art of the American Frontier exhibit.
I had a chance to preview the exhibit a few weeks ago and am anxious to bring my boys, and my dad, a real cowboy fan, back to see it. The Wild West section would surely get my boys attention. In addition to show posters, there are the guns used by Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, as well as a film of the actual performance. The High also has a special kids audio tour to keep them engaged throughout the exhibit.
My dad would be enthralled with the American West art. The expansive scenes of cowboys riding the plains, or the National Parks done by Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran. I enjoyed the many Plains Indian artifacts and clothing. When I mentioned ‘bear claw necklace’, my youngest came running to see the picture.
As with many of the High’s exhibits, Go West is a great history lesson too. Early paintings show the Indian way of life. However, later artwork shows a romanticized and idealistic West. When Westward expansion made it inconvenient for Native Americans to roam the land, the artwork takes on a more menacing feel. The last gallery showcases the desperation of the Indians. For example, the beautiful Ghost Dance tunic was used in a ceremony to pray for the return of the buffalo herds and a restoration of the old ways.
Western Influences on Jerry Pinkney
While you’re at the High, don’t miss the Jerry Pinkney exhibit. Pinkney did the illustrations for a children’s book about African American cowboys called Black Cowboy Wild Horses. It’s a much different West than you’ll find upstairs.
The Booth Western Museum, Cartersville, Ga.
The Booth Western Museum in Cartersville, Ga. is partnering with the High on this exhibit. Their exhibition, called Today’s West! picks up where the High exhibit leaves off, showcasing American West art over the post 50 years. If you visit the Booth Western Museum with kids, ask about the saddle bags at the front desk, and don’t forget to visit Sagebrush Ranch, an indoor playground just for kids.
Other Posts About the High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art has a trifecta of exhibits right now. Here is information on the other two:
Witness: The Jerry Pinkney Exhibit through Jan. 5, 2014
Paris on Peachtree through Jan. 19, 2014
What: High Museum of Art Go West: Art of the American Frontier
Where: High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
When: Nov. 3 – April 13, 2014
Cost: $19.50 Adult, $12 Child (2-17), $16.50 (Senior 65+), $16.50 Student (ID required to enter)
Ticket Discounts: Thursday Evenings after 4 pm tickets are half price
The High Museum participates in the Bank of American Museums on Us Program too.
Fulton County Free Days: Walk-up admission is free for Fulton County, Georgia, residents on the first Saturday of each month until 1 p.m. Tickets are subject to availability. Acceptable I.D. includes valid driver’s license, utility bill or student I.D. from a Fulton County school.
Military Personnel & Families: FREE Admission! The High Museum of Art offers FREE admission for ALL military personnel, along with their immediate families, during regular admission hours. Must show valid ID to gain free admission.