I finally made it to see this museum and I did enjoy it. I love the American West and it was fun to see all the movie and TV memorabilia. Like some other reviewers, though, my main hope was to see some of the 19th century paintings by artists like Bierstadt and Moran, which they do have. The highlight is Thomas Moran's very large 1875 painting of the "Mountain of the Holy Cross," which became politically important in the "Manifest Destiny" movement that rationalized the accession of the western part of the continent. It's always a wonderful thing to sit in front of one of these great romantic paintings of the the western landscapes that inspired so many people and in many cases, in pre-photography times, introduced them to the grandeur of the West.
One problem, however, was the way some of the paintings are displayed. They had a large glass case with a gown positioned right in front of one of the paintings I wanted to examine more closely and there was simply no way to really see that painting other than at an angle from a distance. Others were high on the wall and some small ones were fronted by wide platforms that prevent proper viewing access. These images were what I came to the museum to see and study, and it was a bit of a disappointment. The Moran made it worth the trip, though. It is a magnificent painting.
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