It was kind of prophetic that Ruth met some men with bows and arrows on the elevator in our hotel. They were planning to hunt antelope the next day, and we were going to The Nelson Museum of the West where Ruth spent 5 minutes on the 2nd floor and came back down the stairs to tell me it was eerie. The hunters probably would have loved it.
The AAA awards Cheyenne’s Nelson Museum of the West at 1741 Carey Avenue a gem. Ruth & I would be less generous. The AAA says it celebrates The West. Yes, The West of 50 or more years ago. In my opinion, it’s a 3 Compass place in serious need of a makeover. If you don’t know who Hoot Gibson was and try to avoid using words like eskimo, indian, and cowgirl, you’ll more than likely find Nelson dated too. On the other hand, if you’re a trophy-loving hunter or long-retired taxidermist, you’ll feel right at home.
The Nelson Museum of the West certainly has a lot of stuff, and some of it is worth seeing. I admired Forrest Riley’s gold & silver parade saddle and Alfredo Campos’ colorful Hitched Horsehair Quirt that Nelson acquired in 2010. It took 5 years to design and build Riley’s saddle beginning in 1948, and it eventually cost $250,000. Also on the first floor were eskimo dolls, every possible uniform worn by the men fighting in any indian wars and other conflicts up to World War II, a now-stuffed mountain lion that was prowling Laramie County in 1986, rodeo cowgirls (“I’m rough and I’m tough and I don’t wear bloomers!”).
I went upstairs to see what had spooked Ruth. There was Western art, ivory artifacts, guns galore, and lots more stuffed animals. It was like being alone in a big, spooky attic.