“The Bison” exhibit starts at Kansas Day

Moving bison at Homestead Ranch.

Moving bison at Homestead Ranch.

Ancient. Massive. Wild.

The bison is a North American species whose story stretches from Plains Indian hunters to today’s producers and enthusiasts.

The traveling exhibit The Bison is coming to the High Plains Museum, Jan. 23 through mid-March.  This exhibit will explore the past, present and future of our state animal and national mammal.  The interactive exhibit combines history, artifacts and hands-on activities to bring to life the story of this great North American mammal.

A world without bison was barely averted

The exhibition opens with a mystery: For thousands of years until the early 1860s, tens of millions of bison roamed the North American Great Plains. They were the Plains tribes’ shopping center, providing food, shelter, clothing and articles used in religious services. Bison were hunted nearly into oblivion. By 1890, fewer than 300 bison remained.

When the bison teetered on the edge of extinction, a world without them was ultimately averted by conservationists. The exhibition explores the many ways that the bison’s identity transformed into a symbol of America, a popular image that appears on everything from soft drink bottles to national currency. The Bison also shows how the animal still inspires contemporary Native American artists, continuing a living relationship between Plains peoples and a creature that has always held a special significance for them.

Men stand on and around a vast pile of bison bones. Collecting those bones was the area’s initial industry. Hunters killed millions of bison, pushing the species to near extinction.

The Bison explores the “before” and “after” of the bison’s dramatic decline. The bison story is still being written. Learn more about bison now and in the future at the exhibit.

Learn more about bison at museum programs

Several exciting programs will take place at the High Plains Museum in conjunction with this exhibit.  The first event, the exhibit kick-off, will be on Jan. 28 from 9-5 at the High Plains Museum and will celebrate Kansas Day.  On this day, you can see several live bison and ask our local buffalo rancher, Mr. Ken Klemm, your bison questions!

The second event will be held Feb. 18. On that day, the National Buffalo Association and The Buffalo Guys will provide a workshop titled “The Bison Advantage – Bison and Modern Day Agriculture”. Call 785-899-5804 for more info about this event.

The last event will take place 2 p.m. March 11 at the High Plains Museum. The theme for this day will be “Buffalo on the High Plains: Sharing Local Buffalo History“.  We invite the public to come and share their own buffalo stories and artifacts and meet local historians.

The Bison exhibit is brought to us by the National Buffalo Foundation, the Kauffman Museum, the National Buffalo Museum, The Buffalo Guys and Buffalo Gold Premium Fibers, Goodnight, Texas.

The High Plains Museum, 1717 Cherry, features local history exhibits. The museum is open Mondays, then Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information go online or call 785-890-4595.

All times are Mountain.


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