Autry National Center

Women of the West

In 2002 the Women of the West Museum merged with the Autry National Center, creating a gathering place for programs, exhibitions, collections, research, and education dedicated to diverse women's experiences in the American West. Our goal is to gain a new understanding, not simply of what women have done but of why it matters for the West—past, present, and future.

Founded in 1991 in Boulder, Colorado, the Women of the West Museum was the first museum in the nation dedicated to the history of women of all cultures in the American West. Committed to education outside traditional museum walls, the Women of the West Museum broke new ground with its innovative use of online exhibitions, community partnerships, women's history trails, and art-based humanities programs. The merger with the Autry reflected a continuation of its original spirit, while providing a physical home in Los Angeles to continue its vision through new exhibitions and programs integrated into an overall vision of the West.

Virginia Scharff
Chair, Women of the West
Professor of History, and Director, Center for the Southwest, at the University of New Mexico

Dr. Scharff has written numerous works about the history of women in the United States. At the Autry she works with Dr. Carolyn Brucken, Chief Curator, to develop exhibitions and programs about women and gender, including Home Lands: How Women Made the West.

To contact a curator about donating an object, click This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Butcher Scholar Award

Established in 2001 by the Women of the West Museum, the Butcher Scholar Award honors the vision, leadership, and generosity of Jane and Charlie Butcher. The Award supports original research that promise to deepen our understanding of the history of diverse women in the historical and contemporary West.

Through the Butcher Scholar Award, the Autry has supported research projects in western women’s history of emerging and established scholars since 2002. Beginning in 2012-2013, the Autry will expand the Butcher Scholar Award to a public program showcasing an invited speaker whose work breaks new ground in the history of western women.

The Autry continues to fund scholarly research projects and encourages historians of western women to apply for one of the many fellowships opportunities listed at


Items from the collections

Learn more about the Autry's collections and explore our Collections Online database to see images of the fascinating art, objects, photographs, and documents in our collections. Your research project may require “researcher level” access to view catalog records not yet in the public view. Please contact a librarian to request an id and password at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About the Collections
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4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462 Phone: 323.667.2000

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