Recently, the Annie Oakley Society staff and key volunteers took me on an impressive tour at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (NCWHM).
Ten years ago – and with a cool name like Liichokoshkomo' (meaning "Let's play" in the Chickasaw language) – a vision was set for a new, fun and interactive cultural setting to encourage children and families to explore a piece of the American West. I can tell you families and children are going to LOVE this innovative, beautiful and dynamic world-class exhibit.
With differing viewpoints, historical perspectives and cultural traditions, Liichokoshkomo' delivers hands-on/minds-on experiences leveraging constructive reflection, discovery and life-long learning.
With entertainment in mind, the outdoor educational experience provides a true-to-life setting for children and their accompanying adults. It expands on what children can see in the Museum by providing a dedicated space to better understand the people and varied ways of life behind art and artifacts through free play, guided activities and demonstrations better suited to a less formal setting.
Culturally speaking, the Liichokoshkomo' focuses on three primary story angles: Native American, Westward Movement and Magnificent Landscapes. Through these three primary story angles, three central themes align with the Code of the West. This great space includes Intertribal Native American Village, Western Town Square, Multipurpose facility (accommodating 250 people), Playground, Prosperity Junction Old West Town and the new Express Ranches 50-person theater to show "Under One Sky."
Other features include an Interactive Wagon and Prairie Sod House, a Mesa Verde, Train Station, Railway and Barn, and a Wells Fargo Stage Coach reproduction. Natural features include an intentional green space, a geyser, waterfall and picnic area, and expertly-designed playground equipment.
Given its presentation of the history, values and pioneering stories surrounding the American West, I have been a lifelong supporter of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to include serving as a member of the Museum's Board of Directors. It is with great pride to be among contributors from every U.S. state helping to sustain the NCWHM - the world's foremost institution dedicated to preserving the art, history and cultures of the American West.
I want to extend sincere appreciation and share tremendous kudos with my friends Cathy Keating, Lynn Friess and the Annie Oakley Society for their incredible vision, passion and dedication making Liichokoshkomo' the Museum's newest and most impressive expansion project.