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People of the Plains

14,000 years of history

Today, the lives of the people of the Plains are not too different from those of people living anywhere else in North America. But that’s only a recent development. As recently as six or seven decades ago, life on this wild, windswept, and often harsh expanse had been unique—and uniquely suited to the realities of this environment.

Beginning with the area’s first inhabitants 14,000 years ago, our popular People of the Plains exhibit explores the many ways different cultures have met their need for food, shelter, clothing, and transportation while struggling to survive.

See how the American Indian wasted no part of the buffalo, from the hide to the intestines. Consider the unique trading that occurred from one tribe to another or between tribes and Euro-American settlers. Imagine the volatile Panhandle weather through the windows of our 1915 kit house, visible while preparing a meal on the wood-burning stove.

From the efficient and simple chuck wagon culture to the muscular growl of the legendary 1965 Mustang…from the mud homes of Antelope Creek to the modern fashions of the Sears catalog…from cattlemen and farmers to ciboleros (Hispanic and Pueblo Indian bison hunters) and pastores (New Mexican sheepherders)…the People of the Plains exhibit is comprehensive, dynamic, and always surprising. Visitors of all ages enjoy the diversity of perspectives offered by this engaging, immersive educational experience.
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