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Find Your West

National Cowboy Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Opens Immersive Exhibit With Vignettes Telling the Stories of Cowboy, Native American, Ranching and Rodeo Cultures

A first-of-its-kind, immersive, projection-mapped exhibit at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (NationalCowboyMuseum.org) features four vignettes telling the stories of Cowboy, Native American, Ranching and Rodeo cultures, showing both the historic realities and thriving contemporary facts and imagery of these diverse and distinct Western cultures.

Situated within The Cowboy’s West Hallway, the large-scale, floor-to-ceiling exhibit encircles visitors in western vistas and tells the story of the migration West of America’s early pioneers by immersing them in the sights and sounds of the American frontier. 

Whether it’s your first visit, or the first one in several years, now’s the time to visit America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture, as the whole family is sure to enjoy the new Find Your West exhibit.

Twenty-seven projectors and 768 LED tiles composed of more than 23 million LED lights are used to help make history come alive. The effort represents work from more than 50 people from five different countries.

The 3,000-square-foot exhibit is the first museum project for Lighthouse Immersive (LighthouseImmersive.com), billed as the world’s leading creator of projection-mapped immersive experiences. Lighthouse Immersive also produced the blockbuster Immersive Van Gogh exhibitas well as Immersive Disney Animation, both of which have enjoyed runs in multiple venues worldwide.

“The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's collections allow us to tell the stories of the West better than anyone, but today’s museums cannot simply be repositories for archives of the past, It is important to make sure these stories connect with our guests in fresh ways,” said Pat Fitzgerald, CEO of the museum.

“We are thrilled to be the first museum in the world to partner with Lighthouse Immersive to bring the future of museum storytelling to our guests, who come from all over the world to learn about and experience Western culture and history,” he added.

Lighthouse Immersive worked with David Korins, Emmy-winning creative director and principal designer of Korins Studio, to develop the layout and set design for Find Your West, which incorporates four vignettes: a tipi, a covered wagon, barn doors and a rodeo bucking shoot.

Korins' set design credits include the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” as well as multiple other Broadway, television, film and concert productions.

“Working on this exhibition was, for me, not just an honor but an incredibly fruitful and educational experience as well,” said Korins in the news release issued by the museum announcing the exhibit opening.

“The museum staff and the curatorial team taught me so much about the legacy of the cowboy, the extraordinary depths of their collection and the magic of the West.

“I have always believed in the power of three-dimensional storytelling, and these are astonishing stories to tell,” she added.

“It’s a privilege to continue new and exciting work that adds to the cultural landscape of Oklahoma. And it’s thrilling to honor the rich past of the museum while solidly taking a step into the future.”

The state-of-the-art addition to the museum’s experience was made possible through generous donations from the Harold Hamm Foundation, Continental Resources, and Larry and Polly Nichols to whom Fitzgerald gives credit for helping elevate the museum to world-class institution through this and previous donations.

“This is an experience that will change how you view both historic events and the vitality of Western life today,” he said. “This is just the beginning of how The Cowboy, with our partnership with Lighthouse Immersive, is changing how people will experience museums in the future.”

Find Your Way is part of The Cowboy’s "Live the Code" capital campaign announced last year, which will raise $40 million to modernize the museum’s guest experiences and infrastructure.

“The Cowboy’s executive staff approached us after the success of our Immersive Van Gogh in Oklahoma City, and we’re so glad they did,” said Lighthouse Immersive co-founder Corey Ross.

“We’re proud to have our best-in-class technology and capabilities to share these incredible stories of the West with the guests at The Cowboy, and we’re looking forward to bringing even more experiences to life in the near future.”

The Cowboy plans to work with Lighthouse Immersive again to open an immersive theater experience in a gallery in late 2025.

About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., in Oklahoma City is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. For more information, call 405.478.2250.