Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 08 April 2011 00:00
The new exhibit Buffalo Bill, Wyoming and the Coe Family opened to rave reviews. It is a great blend of history, pop culture, local celebrity and interesting exhibits. Bring your camera and pose in front of a large photograph of the west; and have a snapshot of yourself seated on a Western saddle.
Many of the exhibits, including Buffalo Bill’s red wool embroidered shirt, his saddle, and a pair of beaded gauntlets are on loan from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center of Cody, Wyoming. The Planting Field Foundation owns the stunning Buffalo Bill bronze statue by Robert MacFie Scriver. Oyster Bay resident Harold Johnson loaned an autographed photograph of Buffalo Bill. There were some kitch items: Annie Oakley games and a lunch box that were found by Jennifer Lavella, Marketing and Special Events director, on ebay.
The member preview party featured a special performance of Annie Get Your Gun by the Plaza Productions.
William Robertson Coe, who owned Planting Fields between 1913 and 1949, made his fortune in marine insurance. In 1900 he married Mai Rogers, the youngest daughter of Henry Huttleston Rogers, a Standard Oil partner. They and their four children lived mainly in New York City, and used Planting Fields on weekends.
Mr. Coe first visited Wyoming in 1908 to hunt big game. It was there he met Buffalo Bill. So began his passion for the west. In 1910, he bought one of Buffalo Bill’s ranches, the Carter ranch, not far from the town of Cody which Buffalo Bull had founded in 1895. The Coe family regularly spent summers in the cool Wyoming mountains where Mr. Coe eventually owned over 200,000 acres. Today some of his descendants still live in Cody.
The friendship between the men and W.R. Coe’s passion for the west inspired the exhibit. Additionally, Mr. Coe donated his large and important collection of material concerning the westward expansion to Yale University, beginning in 1942; additionally he established programs in American Studies at 40 colleges and universities, among them, Yale and the University of Wyoming.
Planting Fields Foundation Executive Director Henry Joyce was delighted to say on Wednesday that their Breakfast with Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley on Sunday, April 3, already had 65 kids subscribed. “We’re so very excited about the show and expecting lots of visitors for the summer,” said Mr. Joyce.
“There will also be a free chamber concert on Mother’s Day in the outside Cloister Garden on May 8. It will feature the music of composer Aaron Copeland, and it is free,” said Mr. Joyce. There is only the $8 parking fee for visiting Planting Fields, he added.
Mr. Joyce himself is giving a class in silk flower arranging on May 5. “You will take home a small silk flower arrangement,” he said. Call 922-6682 for reservations. The cost is $40, but $20 for members.
Elsa Eisenberg, PFF volunteer coordinator said they were getting ready for the new season. “We closed after Christmas but opened for the Camelia weekend Feb. 26 and 27. It was a new special event done in conjunction with Coe Hall, which was open too. There was a lecture .. and a Mad Hatter Tea Party. It was all very successful. On April 1, Coe Hall opens for the season.”
She said they were welcoming back a lot of their volunteers. “Thank God for our volunteers,” she said.
They appreciate those volunteers and she said that day she was able to present Civia Fishler, a garden guide volunteer, with a 25-year pin. “We had our volunteer recognition party on Sept. 25 but she was not able to attend,” said Ms. Eisenberg.
When asked why she volunteered in the garden for so many years, Ms. Fishler said, “I love the outdoors and the changing seasons. It is not static, there is always something new to see, including the aromas and fragrances.” The former biology teacher sees the gardens in all their sensual dimensions.
The new exhibit at Coe Hall, Buffalo Bill, Wyoming and the Coe Family is open from April 1 through Sept. 30 from
11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Coe Hall, included in regular admission for all self-guided visits: $3.50 per person / Members and all children under 12 are admitted free; and $8 per car parking fee at the Park Gate.
For more information about the exhibit, call 922-8682 or visit them at www.plantingfields.org.