Anyone who’s recently stepped into the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center since its reopening to the public has probably been instantly transported to the American West in the museum’s Kimbrough Gallery.
Wonders of the West, an exhibit sponsored by Heimansohn Steel and Salvage, celebrates America’s Western culture through scenic landscapes, wonderful crafts by Native American artisans and a tribute to the Acme Boot Co.
The extensive exhibition includes a selection of artworks loaned by the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, as well as pieces from many well-known Tennessee artists, including David Wright, Lori Putnam and Michael Griffin. More than 100 pieces depict magnificent landscapes, cowboy culture and wildlife of the West through both large and small paintings, photographs, sculptures, artifacts and western-themed memorabilia.
Terri Jordan, curator of exhibits at the museum, said there’s a broad range of artwork on display.
“This exhibition of art and artifacts exemplifies the romanticism of America’s love of the West. I am very appreciative of the collectors and artists we have been fortunate to work with, allowing us to bring their many unique pieces in Wonders of the West to our audience. We’re especially excited to have David Wright’s oil painting Bent’s Ford Arrival in the show,” Jordan said. “Wright’s talent for realism is matched by his ability to capture light in dramatic fashion. His works are truly magnificent.”
In addition to breathtaking art, the exhibit also showcases many Native American items that represent the distinct artistic styles of different tribes. Visitors can view an authentic Crow elk tooth dress, a Cheyenne child’s vest and Santee Sioux men’s leggings. Other pieces on display consist of ceremonial rattles, wedding baskets, storyteller dolls, jewelry and pottery.
There is also a display dedicated to the former Acme Boot Co., known as the “World’s Largest Boot Maker,” once headquartered in Clarksville for six decades beginning in the Great Depression. For nearly 60 years, Acme Boot was a major supplier of western boots. Several Acme Boot art-centered marketing pieces are on display, as well as the Tennessee boot from the company’s state boots collection.
Wonders of the West will be on exhibit through July 21 in the museum’s Kimbrough Gallery.
Currently, the Museum is open at 50% capacity from Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Each day, the museum closes from 1-2 p.m. for sanitization of the premises. At this time, the museum is not open Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays. Guests are strongly encouraged to schedule their visit ahead of time by reserving tickets to ensure access to the museum. Tickets can be reserved online at customshousemuseum.org or by calling 931-648-5780, ext. 2039.
In addition to reserved time tickets, guests are strongly encouraged to wear face masks or coverings and to maintain a 6-foot distance between other guests while in the museum. Hand sanitizing dispensers are located throughout the facility for guests to use at their convenience. Specific areas of the museum will remain closed during this time. Those areas include Explorers’ Landing, Huff & Puff Model Trains and the Family Art Studio.
Located in the heart of historic downtown Clarksville, Tennessee, the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is the state’s second-largest general-interest museum with more than 35,000 square feet of exhibit space and houses hands-on activities and special events. Membership and admission information can be found at customshousemuseum.org.