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Toby Keith

Cowboy Hall of Fame

Frontier Country


Water Taxi


KEY Oklahoma City

Exhibit Features Early Western Artists as Illustrators of Arms and Ammunition Advertising

Until mid-May, visitors to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum® in Oklahoma City can enjoy an extensive gathering of rarely seen commercial works featuring Western hunting artwork. Approximately 80 original and lithographic works showcase advertising art created by such well-known Western artists as Frederic Remington, N.C. Wyeth, A.B. Frost, Philip R. Goodwin, W.R. Leigh and Carl Rungius during the golden age of lithography. The Art of American Arms Makers: Marketing Guns, Ammunition and Western Adventure During the Golden Age of Illustration opened February 14 and remains on display through May 16, 2004.

Originally used as advertising art by firearms and ammunition manufacturers from the 1890s to the 1930s, the works in the exhibition have rich and dramatic visual content.

“This is one of the most popular exhibitions created by the National Cowboy Museum in some time,” said Charles P. Schroeder, the Museum’s executive director. “It is attracting a broad mix of patrons to the Museum including art lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, gun collectors, historians and students. The appreciation for this collection of art work has been moving.”

The exhibit explores the role of leading arms makers like Colt®, Smith & Wesson®, Remington®, Winchester® and Marlin® in the democratization and dissemination of quality American art for the broad public. Organized by curator of history Richard Rattenbury in consultation with curator of art Ed Muno, the extensive gathering of art comes from museum, corporate and private collections, including the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. Other works were borrowed from Marlin Firearms Company, Smith and Wesson, Inc., and the Special Collections of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. An accompanying catalog is available at The Museum Store.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is among the nation’s leading repositories of historical art and artifacts treating the American West. The Art of American Arms Makers provides an impressive accompaniment to thematic material interpreted within the Museum’s permanent galleries. Specifically, visitors who enjoy the Arms Makers exhibition appreciate The Joe Grandee Museum of the Frontier West, the Weitzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms and the William S. and Ann Atherton Art of the American West Gallery.

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in the heart of central Oklahoma’s Frontier Country and is one of seven attractions in Oklahoma’s Adventure District at the junction of I-44 and I-35. Membership to America’s Premier Western Heritage Museum includes year-round admission for six people and many more benefits. For more information, visit or call (405) 478-2250.

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