National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame – Fort Worth, Texas

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors and celebrates women, past and present, whose lives exemplify the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the West, and foster an appreciation of the ideals and spirit of self-reliance they inspire.

Established in 1975, it is dedicated to honoring women of the American West who have displayed extraordinary courage and pioneering fortitude. The museum is an educational resource with exhibits, a research library, and a rare photography collection. It adds Honorees to its Hall of Fame annually.


The areas of the museum include the Spirit of the Cowgirl Theater, the Life tiles murals, the children’s Discovery Corral, the retail Cowgirl Shop, and a large Rotating Exhibit Gallery. Permanent galleries include:

  • The Hall of Fame Honoree Gallery features one honoree from each of the Hall of Fame categories: Champions and Competitive Performers, Ranchers (Stewards of Land and Livestock), Entertainers, Artists and Writers, and Trailblazers and Pioneers
  • “Into the Arena,” which covers women in the fields of rodeo and trick riding, as well as modern horsewomen of note such as Belmont Stakes winning jockey Julie Krone. It has interactive computer displays, rodeo memorabilia, clothing, and other rodeo artifacts. The area also displays saddles such as Sheila Welch’s cutting horse saddle and Julie Krone’s racing saddle. Rodeo fashions are displayed in “Arena Style,” where a rotating rack moves in direct response to a flat-panel, touch-screen display placed in front of the case featuring details and additional information about various outfits, threading together a rodeo star’s story with her corresponding clothing. Also in this gallery is an interactive bronc riding experience, where visitors can ride a fake horse that has been modified from training bulls used by rodeo riders. Visitor’s “rides” can be videoed, then sped up, and transformed into footage from an old-style rodeo for purchase.
  • “Kinship with the Land,” which includes exhibits related to ranching, including historic gear including saddles, women’s clothing such as split skirts, pistols, a Victorian riding habit, and a sidesaddle. It has both graphic panels and plasma screen displays. An interactive exhibit allows children to saddle a model Shetland pony, and other displays for children, show children’s chaps, 4-H ribbons, and a selection of toys.
  • “Claiming the Spotlight” shows the cowgirl as represented in media, and the varying roles the archetypical cowgirl has played in film, television, advertising, and music. The gallery includes a collection of dime novels and displays on entertainers who have portrayed cowgirls such as Barbara Stanwyck, Dale Evans, and Patsy Montana. The gallery includes an old-time theater with a looping film narrated by Katharine Ross about portrayals of cowgirls in mass media, a television area featuring clips from 1950s-era series, and jukeboxes playing music by country and Western women performers. Interactive exhibits allow Visitors to pose for a movie poster and purchase the ensuing image at the gift shop.

The Rotating Exhibit Gallery has hosted past exhibits including Donna Howell-Sickles: The Timeless Image of the Cowgirl; Georgia O’Keeffe and the Faraway: Nature and Image; Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps; Paniolo: Cowboys and Cowgirls of the Hawaiian Frontier; Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The World of Evelyn Cameron; Ride: A Global Adventure; Texas Flags; The Cowgirl Who Became A Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor, Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women – Photographs by Barbara Van Cleve and No Glitz, No Glory.


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.


The Museum holds over 5,000 objects in the artifact collection. These artifacts are exhibited for the public to enjoy today and also preserved for future generations.  Most artifacts in the collection belonged to or were created by Hall of Fame Honorees. Other artifacts document the history of women of the West from early pioneers to the cowgirl’s portrayal in popular culture. Highlights of the collection include Annie Oakley’s wedding ring and gun, Dale Evans’s Bohlin saddle, and Nudie Cohn-designed clothing and saddle.

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