Museum News (January 22, 2024)

Published 01/23/2024

Couples pair up to walk through the basic two-step footwork at the Hansen Museum’s Winter Dance Class.

From naughty to nervy, noble to nefarious, our current exhibit NOTORIOUS introduces visitors to thirteen unforgettable historical Kansas characters. The individuals are profiled under three categories: Legend vs. Reality, How Passage of Time Alters Perspective, and Lasting Impact on Society. After exploring these so-called notorious figures, visitors can decide for themselves if such a title is deserved.

Ripe with legends, the stories of the Wild West romanticize and mythicize heroes and villains. Utilizing the power of the pen, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, one of the individuals featured in this exhibit, hired Prentiss Ingraham to write dime novels to inflate his exploits. Ingraham’s depictions took Cody’s abilities to the next level. Capitalizing on his popularity garnered through the written word, Cody took the stories to live action with theatrical reinactments.

Cody a natural entertainer, put together a Wild West Show that included Native Americans, cowboys, Mexican vaqueros, famous riders, and expert lasso throwers. Using real props, i.e., stagecoaches, wagons, livestock, and even herds of buffalo, his show was a grand source of wonderment. The entire nation was eager to see Cody’s live rendition of the Wild West they had fallen in love with through the printed word.

Known for treating Natives Americans with dignity and respect, Cody’s show offered gainful employment to the Native population. Many of Cody’s Native American employees were from the Sioux tribe due to his friendship with the Sioux warrior, Sitting Bull. The common misconception that all Native Americans lived in teepees arose from Cody’s employment of the Sioux in his shows.

Does Cody deserve the title NOTORIOUS? It appears Buffalo Bill’s blurred realty helped to create his legacy. Does embellishment take away from his accomplishments or did embellishments help? Come review the information and decide for yourself if “Buffalo Bill” Cody deserves to be called NOTORIOUS.

We have had several calls this past week regarding the Winter Dance Class. The first class met on January 14th, but classes will continue through February 18th. It is not too late to sign up. The cost of dance class is very affordable and even if you miss one or two classes, participants will still get their money’s worth. Call the Museum at 785-689-4846 for more information.

NOTORIOUS and Carol Bales’ Santa Collection, will remain on view through January 28, 2024. Keep up to date with Museum happenings by following the Museum Facebook page. The Museum is open Mon. through Fri. 9-12 and 1-4; Sat. 9-12 & 1-5; Sun. and holidays 1-5. We are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. We are handicapped accessible, and admission is always free thanks to the generous support of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. For more information or if you have questions, please contact us at 785-689-4846. We hope to see you at the Museum!