Buffalo Bill Center of the West Bids Farewell to Boone and Crockett Collection

Photos of the Boone and Crockett Heads and Horns of America Collection heading to Missouri. Photos courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Photos of the Boone and Crockett Heads and Horns of America Collection heading to Missouri. Photos courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Cody, WY -(AmmoLand.com)- Since 1982, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has housed the Boone and Crockett Club’s National Collection of Heads and Horns of America, originally dedicated in 1922.

In May, the collection moved to the America’s Wildlife Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Boone and Crockett Club,” says Ashley Hlebinsky, Cody Firearms Museum Curator. “While we were sad to see the collection leave Cody, we are excited for the collection to be viewed by a new audience.” 

Located adjacent to Bass Pro Shop’s flagship store in Springfield, the all new, state-of-the-art showcase of hunter-and-angler-led conservation that is the Wildlife Museum & Aquarium, opens in 2016 with the Boone and Crockett Collection as one of its featured exhibits. The museum and aquarium are the vision of Bass Pro Shop’s founder, and Boone and Crockett Club member, Johnny Morris.

The Club’s Chief of Staff, Tony Schoonen, explained, “Boone and Crockett is honored to share our historic collection with what will be the most elaborate conservation/education attraction in the world. Johnny’s museum builds on a rich legacy of conservation and ensures that future generations will join us in sustaining wildlife and stewarding habitat.”

Photos of the Boone and Crockett Heads and Horns of America Collection heading to Missouri. Photos courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Photos of the Boone and Crockett Heads and Horns of America Collection heading to Missouri. Photos courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West

The Boone and Crockett Collection originated in 1907 under the auspices of three prominent conservation and sport hunting groups: the Boone and Crockett Club, the Lewis and Clark Club, and the Camp Fire Club. Initially, it served as a study collection for the New York Zoological Society (Bronx Zoo), founded in 1895 by Boone and Crockett. The collection’s significance depended on obtaining the finest examples of each big game variety—animals like elk, deer, mountain sheep, moose, etc. By 1910, the collection was becoming the prime American repository of record big game trophy heads.

Between 1910 and the 1940s, the total collection grew to contain more than 800 trophy mounts. After World War II, the Zoological Society shifted its emphasis away from inanimate study collections. Officials culled inferior trophy and study examples from the exhibit during that period, and eventually removed the Heads and Horns Collection from public display.

Largely through the urging of W. Harold Nesbitt (then Director, Hunter Services Division, National Rifle Association, and an associate member of Boone and Crockett), control of the North American Heads and Horns Collection reverted to the Boone and Crockett Club in 1978. The group displayed the Collection for three years at NRA (National Rifle Association) headquarters in Washington, DC, before shipping it to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in 1982.

“We are happy to continue our positive relationship with the Boone and Crockett,” Hlebinsky adds. “We currently are working with them to reinterpret the cabin where the Heads and Horns were displayed, in a fresh and new way to captivate today's and tomorrow's, visitors and conservationists.” 

The Cody Firearms Museum plans to use the former “Boone and Crockett Cabin” exhibit space for hunting and conservation exhibits, related interpretive elements, and additional firearms content.

For more information, contact Hlebinsky at [email protected] or 307-578-4092. Stay apprised of all the Center’s activities by following its event calendar at centerofthewest.org/calendar/.

About Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center, and affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently operating its winter schedule, open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday – Sunday.

For additional information, visitcenterofthewest.org or the Center’s pages on Facebook and Google+.

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