Symposium Session 5

Session 5: Roundtable Discussion: The Legacy of Buffalo Bill at the Center of the West
Jeremy Johnston, moderator

Ashley Hlebinsky — Cody Firearms Museum

Ashley Hlebinsky is the Robert W. Woodruff Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. She has a master’s degree in American History and Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, where she studied the perception of firearms in culture. Hlebinsky spent three years researching in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Firearms Collection.  In addition to her duties as curator, she lectures around the country and in Canada to both the firearms industry and the academic community on the glamorization and stigmatization of firearms both in modern culture and in museums. She also is a freelance writer and has appeared on both national and international television networks.

Karen McWhorter — Whitney Western Art Museum

Karen McWhorter is the Scarlett Curator of Western American Art for the Whitney Western Art Museum. McWhorter previously served as department assistant in charge of research and publications for the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). During her tenure at the DAM, McWhorter oversaw the production of two major Petrie Institute publications, Elevating Western American Art: Developing an Institute in the Cultural Capital of the Rockies (2012) and Decades: An Expanded Context for Western American Art, 1900 – 1940 (2013). She co-curated the exhibition Western Duds: How Clothing Helped Create an Archetype (2013) and assisted with the planning and implementation for the Denver presentation of The American West in Bronze, 1850 – 1925 (2014). McWhorter has been an adjunct art history instructor, guest lecturer, and collections manager for a privately-held art collection. She has written on contemporary western American art, artists of the Taos School, nineteenth-century explorer artists, American landscape paintings and photography, and topics in museums studies. McWhorter earned a BA from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2008 where she specialized in studio art, and received her MA in Art History with a concentration in museum studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2010.

Chuck Preston — Draper Natural History Museum

Dr. Charles R. Preston is a wildlife ecologist serving as the Willis McDonald, IV Senior and Founding Curator of the Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. He is widely recognized as a leading authority on wildlife and conservation issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Mary Robinson — McCracken Research Library

Mary Robinson has been an active professional in the Wyoming library community since 1993. She holds an MLS degree from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Special Collections Certification from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois.

Rebecca West — Plains Indian Museum

Rebecca West is Curator of Plains Indian Cultures and the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. She works with the people, objects, ideas, and programs that define the Plains Indian Museum.West serves as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation contact for the Center and has contributed articles, presentations, and publications relating to the histories and material cultures of Indians of the Northern Plains as well as on the subject of contemporary Indian art. During her tenure at the Center, West has assisted with major in-house exhibitions, permanent gallery installations such as the Plains Indian Museum reinstallation, as well as traveling exhibition development, including current work on Legacies: Indian Art from the Paul Dyck Collection. West holds a BA in art history from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma with a focus on the culturally based symbolic use of color by contemporary Indian artists.