American Cowboy Gallery

Grab your gear and let's ride.

By National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

American Cowboy Gallery (2015) by National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

American Cowboy Gallery (2015) by National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Grandest tack room in the West

The American Cowboy Gallery represents the most extensive exhibition on the working cowboy in the United States. Within the environment of a rough-hewn ranch building, in-depth presentations feature various elements of equipment, such as saddles, bits, and spurs. Visitors believe this is a “mecca” for those interested in the real history of the “cowpuncher” and his authentic clothing and equipment.

American Cowboy Gallery (2015) by National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Who
were these cowboys? 

The lifestyle attracted men of all backgrounds, including Hispanics, Blacks, Native Americans, and recent European immigrants. The real story is much more interesting and colorful than the stereotypes created by fictional literature and film. 

Stetson Hats (2015) by National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Freshly creased or crumpled, the cowboy hat is recognized around the world as a symbol of the American West.

Western Hat circa 1920 (1920) by John B. Stetson CompanyNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The Cowboy Hat

Hat makers use steam to mold the hat body over a form, or hat block. Early hats came in black and natural fur colors, with white- and color-dyed selections appearing on the market only after 1920.

History of the Cowboy Hat, From the collection of: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Clothing of the Cowboy (2015) by National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The traditional clothing of American cowboys reflected both their outdoor lifestyle and their cultural background.

Angora Chaps (1920) by Visalia Stock Saddle CompanyNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Chaps

Horsemen in the West often needed extra protection for their legs when riding through dense brush or cactus and mesquite thorns. 

Western Boots circa 1930 (1930) by Archer LaForceNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

By the 1870s, tall, snug fitting boots with high, underslung heels became the hallmark of Great Plains trail-drive cowboys.

Loop Seat Stock Saddle (1885) by F.H. MetzNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

By reputation, a cowboy never walks if he can ride. During the past 150 years, the shape of the western stock saddle has evolved in response to the needs of men who worked cattle from horseback.

Barbwire/Branding Irons (American Cowboy Gallery) (2015) by National Cowboy & Western Heritage MuseumNational Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Branding irons and barbed wire are common tools of the working cowboy. The Museum houses the largest collection of barbed wire known, and more than five hundred unique branding irons.

History of Branding: Irons in the Fire - YouTube, From the collection of: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Credits: Story

Come explore the West at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Exhibit produced by,
John Spencer, Director of Media & Content Production, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Grant Leatherwood, Manager of Media & Content Production, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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