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The CFM Grand Opening

I just had the wildest nine months of my life! At the beginning of these nine months, I was ending my internship at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Not really sure what I was going to do next I was stunned to be extended in my position at the Center first in August, then again at the end of December, and for one last time at the end of May.

For a year I answered questions online like, “Why is the firearms museum closed? Why didn’t anyone advertise this? It’s the only museum I wanted to see.” On Trip Adviser visitors would rate the ENTIRE Center as 1 Star because the one museum they wanted to visit was undergoing a near $13 million makeover and they didn’t bother to check the website before traveling sometimes over a thousand miles to see ONE thing.

So I felt honor-bound by all my endurance of these under-prepared visitors to see for myself what all the hype was about when their favorite museum re-opened July 6!

Celebrations kicked off with veteran Dana Bowman skydiving from a plane that was on its way home from the D-Day memorial event in Europe. To everyone’s great pleasure the plane interrupted one of the speakers with a very close flyby that proved great for pictures!

The CEO, the Cody Firearms Museum Head of the Board, the Head of the Committee for the renovation, and Curator Ashley Hlebinsky spoke thanking the many, many individuals who had a hand in bringing us here.

With that, the ceremonial opening bell (that John Wayne himself rung to open the Whitney Western Art Museum at the Center in 1959) rang and the guests were given instructions to enter the New Cody Firearms Museum for the first time!

Feeling like I had played some role in the making of true history I wandered the galleries in awe. If you aren’t someone who knows much about firearms, a firearms museum wouldn’t normally appeal to you. However, the CFM teaches you in its first gallery all the basics of firearms terms, use, and safety! It’s very interactive so it’s great for kids too!

Then there is the incredible storytelling that has gone into showcasing the history of firearms in the military, in the Wild West, in sport, and as a tool. The CFM doesn’t even shy away from discussing painful topics like school shootings and increasing gun control laws in the United States. Instead, it provides a forum for civil discourse where knowledgeable conversations may be had while surrounded in the context of firearms many uses and possibilities. It also includes the stories of real veterans from conflicts throughout United States history! I nearly cried reading through their accounts of what life was like on each front line!

My favorite part of the museum is how it shows the many different kinds of people who do use firearms. I think it’s very easy for most of us who don’t know much about firearms, in general, to get this idea in our head of what the type of person who uses them looks like. What I learned is that is quite far from the truth! Even from the early days of firearms they were not only used by a diverse crowd… they were marketed to a diverse crowd.

If you are a major fan of firearms, well this place had better already be on your bucket list! With over 10,000 artifacts on display, a research area designed specifically for you, and the thousands of records in their collection you’ll probably want to spend the rest of your life there 😂 ( I certainly don’t blame you!) I’m going to have to go back so I can better educate myself on firearms use and history when there aren’t as many visitors so excited that it’s FINALLY open.

Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow The Montana Bear Paw page on Facebook and Instagram @littlemissbearpaw, and on Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!

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