The Frontier in American Culture

frontier in american culture brochure cover

The Frontier in American Culture was a traveling exhibition to public and academic libraries throughout the country between September 1996 and December 2001. The exhibit was based on an exhibition of same name presented at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Through photographs, maps and other pictorial materials, The Frontier in American Culture examined how stories and images of the frontier and the settling of the West has shaped American identity and values. Specifically, the exhibition used two conflicting stories about the settling of the West -- historian Frederick Jackson Turner's account of free land and peaceful settlement, and Buffalo Bill Cody's depiction in his Wild West Shows of bloody conflict and violent confrontation -- to explore this theme. A third perspective is that of the Indians, who were virtually ignored by Turner and demonized by Cody.

The Frontier in American Culture was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).