Buffalo Bill Center of the West Appoints First Female Firearms Curator

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The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, announces the appointment of Ashley Lynn Hlebinsky as Associate Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum. Hlebinsky becomes the first female firearms curator in the country.

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Ashley Lynn Hlebinsky, Associate Curator, Cody Firearms Museum

And trust me...I'm no Annie Oakley.

Upon being named Associate Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum—and thereby the first female curator in the country—Ashley Hlebinsky had this to say about the appointment, “I don’t consider myself a groundbreaker at all. Women have always been a part of firearms history and are a growing population in today’s firearms community. And trust me, I’m no Annie Oakley.”

Hlebinsky has a combination of hands-on experiences, research fellowships, internships, and museum employment focusing around the study of firearms. A Pittsburgh native and former competitive ballroom dancer, Hlebinsky had her first experience working with firearms in a museum context at the Soldiers and Sailors National Memorial Hall in her hometown. She completed a BA and MA in American History and Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, where she taught weapons history as part of a military survey course.

Three years prior to her full-time position in Cody, Hlebinsky worked between the Cody Firearms Museum and the National Firearms Collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. In Cody, she has served as a Buffalo Bill Research Fellow, publishing and presenting on the perception of firearms in popular culture; a Cody Firearms Museum Kinnucan Arms Chair Grant recipient, studying the role of women in the industry; an intern; a firearms assistant; Curatorial Resident; Assistant Curator; and now Associate Curator.

In addition to her work at the Cody Firearms Museum, Hlebinsky has become a visible figure in the firearms industry as a firearms writer, historian, and consultant. “To diverse audiences, firearms mean different things, especially within their context,” Hlebinsky notes, “Firearms have always been part of American history and tell rich stories that can spark an interest in even the most uncommon places and individuals. The goal of the Cody Firearms Museum is to present those stories.”

Hlebinsky takes the reins of her new position on January 12, 2015. She replaces longtime firearms scholar and Cody Firearms Curator Warren Newman who is retiring. Newman will continue as Curator Emeritus and Senior Firearms Specialist for the Center.

Read more about the Cody Firearms Museum on the Center's website. To contact Hlebinsky, e-mail ashleyh(at)centerofthewest(dot)org, or call 307-578-4048.


Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West devotes itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating its winter schedule: open Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Monday – Wednesday. For additional information, visit the Center’s website or its pages on Facebook and Google+.

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