CowboySpirit.com – The cowboy is an iconic image, bringing to mind cattle drives, rodeos or even the Hollywood version on the big screen.
The cowboy played such an important role in the development of Nebraska, that the Nebraska History Museum is honoring their contributions with a year-long exhibit: “Nebraska Cowboys: Lives, Legends and Legacies.” The exhibit opened in late September and will be on display until Jan. 5, 2015.
Chadron’s Jim Potter played a big role in creating the exhibit, according to Ann Billesbach, the museum’s associate director of education and interpretation. Potter wrote the exhibit script and was instrumental in finding pieces for the large display.
“Nebraska Cowboys: Lives, Legends and Legacies” will fill four galleries in the Lincoln museum, an unusual event as each gallery is generally devoted to different subjects, Billesbach said.
“We really committed to the story,” she added.
The museum’s director Mike Smith actually promoted the idea of an exhibit dedicated to cowboys and their role in Nebraska, Potter said. It hadn’t been done before and he felt it was too important a part of Nebraska history to ignore longer. Potter was tasked with the logistics of making the exhibit happen. That included writing the script and locating pieces to complement the museum’s own collection.
Potter researched all aspects of cowboy history, crafted a plan for the exhibit and then traveled the state searching for pieces to feature in the exhibit.
“Everybody was pretty accommodating,” Potter said. “We borrowed a variety of pieces and integrated them with our own.”