The Museum preserves over 10,000 artifacts and photographs in its collections. We provide a stable environment and constant care to fight the ravages of time. However, cowgirls are hard on their equipment! Many objects arrive in the collection in need of cleaning and repair. Other objects naturally deteriorate due to material makeup or treatment prior to donation. Here is how we are preserving the history of the cowgirl.
Adopt an Artifact
Our Adopt an Artifact program allows the public to make tax-deductible donations that are used solely for object conservation. The cost of treatment provided by a qualified conservator is substantial but necessary to prepare objects for display and preserve them for future generations. Levels of adoption begin at $50 and can be gifted to others. In addition to saving a piece of cowgirl history, there are other benefits for donors. Contact the Collections Manager Ashley Kowalski at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dale Evans’ High Heels, c. 1950s
Dale Evans’ High Heels, c. 1950s
Conservation Cost: $500
Dale Evans’ high heels were conserved in 2019. Tears and abrasions in the leather were secured and retouched. Leather surfaces were cleaned. The sterling silver heels were cleaned, polished, and waxed. Wire supports were made for the ankle straps.
Photos courtesy of Studio Six Art Conservation.
Dale Evans Rogers attained mythic status during her career as an actress and singer, eventually being crowned “Queen of the West.” During her career, she starred in 38 motion pictures, two TV series, wrote 25 songs, and over twenty books. She was a role model and true heroine to millions; demonstrating the spirit of the cowgirl in everything she did. These high heels were custom made for Dale and feature engraved, sterling silver heel caps designed by the famed Edward H. Bohlin.
Leather tear before
Leather tear after
Thanks to Double D Ranch™ for sponsoring the conservation of Dale Evans’ high heels.
Lulu Bell Parr’s Saddle c. 1910 – 1920s
Lulu Bell Parr reigned as the “Champion Lady Bucking Horse Rider of the World.” She thrilled Wild West show audiences with her bronc riding, trick riding, sharp shooting, and buffalo riding. Parr’s saddle was made by the Miles City Saddlery Company of Miles City, Montana. This saddle was conserved in 2015. The surface was cleaned to remove large areas of spew, dirt, staining and then treated with Leather Restoration Conditioner. This saddle is now on display in the Museum’s new Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows exhibit.
Tad Lucas’ Boots c. 1930
Tad Lucas made her professional rodeo debut in 1917 and became a full-time professional cowgirl in 1922. She competed in bronc riding, trick riding, and relay racing and won virtually every major prize offered to women in rodeo during her career. These boots were owned by Lucas. Conservation of the boots included surface cleaning, consolidating the leather, and securing tears. The boots are now on display in the Museum’s new Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows exhibit.
Gun Belt and Holster c. 1890
While shooting, riding, and roping with the men, cowgirls can often be seen as one of the boys. To display their feminine side, cowgirls embellished their gear. This gun holster and belt features brass studs and glass “jewels”. The holster and belt’s conservation included surface cleaning and removal of green accretions and rust. The metal and “jewels” were polished. The holster and belt are now on display in the Museum’s new Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows exhibit.
Tru Vue Optium Conservation Grant
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame was awarded the Tru Vue Optium Conservation Grant from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation in June 2014. Funding provided by this grant helped conserve and frame a parade flag from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The rare flag is the centerpiece of the Museum’s newest permanent exhibit “Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows” which explores the significant role women performers played in the Wild West shows. The Museum thanks the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation and Tru Vue, Inc. for their financial support in preserving this important piece of history.