Beginning with the 1883 formation of the Buffalo Bill Wild West, audiences had an opportunity to vicariously experience the sights and sounds of the West through performances of traveling shows. Much like circuses of the day, Wild West shows traveled from town to town on rails, bringing cowboys, sharp shooters, Native Americans and a variety of animals to audiences around the country.
Traveling entertainments of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were big business across the United States. The resources, from performers and equipment to advertising for circuses, Wild West shows and other such itinerant amusements often overlapped. Like their counterparts under the big top, Wild West impresarios invested heavily in gorgeous commercial lithographs to advertise the wonders they would present in each town along their route.
Wild West is an exhibition of original posters printed between 1890 and 1950 celebrating great Wild West shows from Buffalo Bill to the 101 Ranch. The exhibit will be featured in the Poster Gallery of the Circus Museum Tibbals Learning Center.
Unknown printer, Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, circa 1900, Tibbals Collection, ht2003972.