National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, 1720 Gendy St., celebrates the achievements of more than 200 western women who have played such roles as pathfinder, performer, rancher and artist. You'll be greeted by a Mehl Lawson sculpture of a cowgirl and her horse and a Richard Haas trompe l'oeil mural at the entrance. Within the museum's galleries, theaters and magnificent rotunda are more than 4,000 artifacts and 2,500 photographs related to cowgirls of the past and present.
Twelve optically illusory glass murals depicting cowgirls' lives add to the elegance of the rotunda, where you'll embark on your journey along the Spirit Trail. Lining the Rotunda Hall walls are shimmering glass stars bearing the names of influential females like Lewis and Clark's Shoshone interpreter Sacagawea, Nebraskan author Willa Cather and U.S. Supreme Court member and Arizonan Sandra Day O'Connor. Electronic “yearbooks” allow you to delve into the Hall of Famers' fascinating lives, and an 8-minute theater presentation highlights cowgirl diversity.
In the Into the Arena gallery you can see and hear authentic clips from famous rodeo rides, admire a revolving rack of polychromatic cowgirl attire and star in a recorded show of your own atop a mechanical bronc. Watch an interview on an interactive computer and let a pro tell you what it's like to be on the rodeo circuit.
In the Kinship with the Land gallery you'll be introduced to female ranchers whose love for the great outdoors is surpassed only by their untamable spirit. Special lighting effects are used in this room, which is illuminated with projected scenes of vast expanses of Western land and of cowgirls on the job.
Jukebox tunes of Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire and other country singers fill the air in the Claiming the Spotlight gallery. Must-sees include mementos and segments from the 1950s hit television shows “Annie Oakley” and “The Roy Rogers Show,” a designer rhinestone-studded saddle and a dime novel collection. An old-fashioned theater presents a comical yet informative film about the cowgirl's place in Hollywood.