Advertising the Frontier Myth: Poster Art of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West

Wild West12

05.18.2024 - 10.24.2024

Event link:
Wild West22

Advertising the Frontier Myth: Poster Art of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West features posters from the Jack Rennert Collection, recently acquired through the generosity of the Hal R. and Naoma J. Tate Foundation, as well as works from the Center of the West’s own unrivalled holdings.

With thirty large-scale vintage posters alongside original photos and exciting digital interactives, the exhibition offers a unique perspective on the promotional efforts of William F. Cody and his Wild West Company. Opening to the general public on May 18, Advertising the Frontier Myth remains on view through October 24, 2024.

What comes to mind when you think of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West?

Skilled riders on horseback, sharpshooters performing impressive tricks, dramatic reenactments of real and mythic moments in western American history?  These and other compelling images were used in Wild West advertisements. They influenced first and lasting impressions of the fascinating spectacle.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West gained and retains its recognition due in part to the popularity of its namesake, but also due to its tremendous marketing success. Cody's team of marketers led by Major Arizona John Burke, produced countless posters highlighting the presentations scale and drama.

Our poster collection now includes more than 300 originals, from smaller posters for window display to enormous billboard-sized works. This exhibition invites you to explore the captivating world of Buffalo Bill's Wild West.  

The exhibition is based on the award-winning book, Art and Advertising in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West (2019), by guest curator Dr. Michelle Anne Delaney of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.