Ruth loves the National Cowgirl Museum. As a result, we’ve been there 3 times. Almost 4. On the first visit she climbed onto the mechanical bronc and rode it like a real cowgirl. I have pictures to prove it. On the 2nd visit she spent a lot of time in the gift shop. Between our 2nd and 3rd visit, an ice storm in Fort Worth closed it for the day. During our 3rd visit, in 2016, I realized that I liked it every bit as much as she did and spent so much time reading about real cowgirls like Shirley Lucas Jauregui that Ruth wandered off.
Shirley Lucas Jauregui is just one of hundreds of women profiled in the National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. As accomplished trick rider, Jauregui became a movie stunt woman and western wear fashion designer. She performed stunts for stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. She appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows.
The National Cowgirl Museum (NCM) is the only museum in the world honoring the women of the American West. They had to have lots of grit and stamina and be unusually self-reliant. NCM began in 1975 in the basement of a library in Hereford, Texas. In 2002 it moved into a new venue on Gendy Street in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. In 2015 a 2-phase renovation began that will not be completed until 2017. I was told that the 1st floor is done and that a lot of the 2nd floor will soon be closed for changes even though the museum will remain opened. One of the innovative functions on NCM’s website is a window that repeats the latest tweets about it. This will surely be a good place to find out when the renovations will be completed if you want to delay a visit until they’re done.
A new exhibit on the 1st floor explores Wild West Shows from the 1880s until the early 20th century. Annie Oakley is prominently featured. In fact, I found a detailed map that I poured over for an hour. Annie Oakley did a lot to open doors for women with guns, actually female performers in general.
The National Cowgirl Museum, however, isn’t just about females in spotlights. Among the women profiled here are Sacagawea, Sandra Day O’Connor, Temple Grandin, and Georgia O’Keeffe. In fact, one of its primary functions has been creating a Hall of Fame that now has more than 200 members. Every year honorees are inducted and prominently featured in museum displays. The 2016 honorees include another accomplished trick rider, a cattle raising rancher, a wildlife habitat protector, and an animal rehabilitator.
If you contacted Ruth and asked her to show you around the National Cowgirl Museum, she’d be there at the agreed upon time wearing boots, spurs, and a cowgirl hat.