Brown Bag Lunch Series part of extensive Museum programming surrounding temporary
exhibition Ancient. Massive. Wild. – The Bison Exhibit.


The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum will host a bison-themed Brown Bag Lunch Series on Thursdays, February 28 – April 4, 2019. The Brown Bag Lunch Series is made possible by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities.


From noon – 1:00 p.m. each Thursday, a different subject-matter expert will explore a topic related to the North American bison. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase one at The Museum Grill. Reservations are not required, and admission is free to the program and The Museum Grill.


“Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and into today, the North American bison has remained the West’s most iconic animal,” said Museum President & CEO Natalie Shirley. “The way in which this creature sustained cultures, was driven to the brink of extinction and then made a remarkable resurgence is an epic story that demands our attention and understanding.”


For additional information on this lecture series, contact Shannon Strain, Visitor Services Manager, at (405) 478-2250 ext. 250.


Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this lecture series do not necessarily represent those of OH or NEH.


Bison-themed Brown Bag Lunch Series lectures include:


February 28, The Bison as Popular Icon

Nathan Jones, Associate Curator of Cowboy Culture, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, discusses the impact of the bison as a popular icon. Using artifacts and other documentary sources, Jones tells how — from cave paintings to currency — the bison has been a central symbol to Western identity.


March 7, Depicting the Grasslands – Bison in Wildlife Art

Adam Duncan Harris, Curator, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming, explores how Western art can help us understand humanity’s relationship with wildlife and nature. In particular, he examines the legacy of artist George Catlin through paintings produced following the artist’s 1832 travels to Indian Territory, where he witnessed the landscape blackened by millions of bison.


March 14, The Destruction of the American Bison

Andrew C. Isenberg, Hall Professor of American History at the University of Kansas, examines the decline of the North American bison population. Isenberg presents the destruction as the outcome of a process involving the natural environment of the Great Plains, the ecological and economic impact of Euro-Americans and the culture and economy of the Plains Indians.


March 21, The Bison and its Meaning to Indigenous Cultures

Cherokee storyteller Gayle Ross shares tales about the bison: a giver of life that is tied to creation, medicine and sacred messages. Ross tells riveting stories about the bison’s importance in Native American culture and heritage.


March 28, The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains

Santa Fe-based historian Dan Flores claims that in 1870 there were at least 10 million bison in the southern herd on the North American plains. Flores draws a vivid portrait of these animals in their glory and tells the harrowing story of what happened to them at the hands of market hunters and ranchers.


April 4, The Buffalo War

The Buffalo War brought multiple cultures into collision on the Southern Plains. Michael Grauer, McCasland Curator of Cowboy Culture, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, shares a multi-cultural and much-layered story involving Native Americans, Anglo Americans, African Americans and Hispanic Americans, revolving around the destruction of the American bison as a resource for native peoples and a product for the Industrial Revolution.


About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located only six miles northeast of downtown Oklahoma City in the Adventure District at the junction of Interstates 44 and 35, the state’s exciting Adventure Road corridor. The Museum offers annual memberships beginning at just $40. For more information, visit For high-resolution images related to the National Cowboy Museum or this exhibition, visit