About the Exhibition
The history of the Western genre is explored in the Imagination Gallery. Putting the Western into its larger historical context, the gallery shows how the genre evolved in response to social and cultural changes taking place in America during the twentieth century. Highlights from the film collection range from the camera director Cecil B. DeMille used on the set of The Squaw Man (1914) to an original Norman Rockwell painting of Gary Cooper used to advertise Along Came Jones (1945). The television collection includes artifacts ranging from Clayton Moore’s costume from The Lone Ranger (1949–1961) to the original handwritten pilot for Bonanza (1959–1973).
Almost every iconic cowboy—including William S. Hart, Bill Pickett, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Duncan Renaldo, James Arness, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood—is represented in the gallery. Such cowgirls as Patsy Montana, Betty Hutton, and Katharine Hepburn are also represented, as well as artifacts and posters from Thelma and Louise (1991) and the iconic shirts from Brokeback Mountain (2005).
Although the Western genre's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, its vitality and continuing influence are evident in the Imagination Gallery.