Cowgirl Museum acquires Annie Oakley’s needlework belt

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The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame has acquired sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s needlework belt for its permanent collection.

The announcement came Aug. 13 on the anniversary of Oakley’s birthday.

The belt is on display in the Hitting the Mark: Cowgirls and Wild West Shows exhibition, which illuminates the many female performers who contributed to these spectacularly popular outdoor events.

The belt was created during her third European tour in 1891, the museum said.

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Oakley would often do needlework in her tent between performances. This belt has the tour year, “1891,” and her initials “AO,” on opposite ends of the belt. It measures roughly 33.5 inches in length, which would be equivalent to a size 1 or 2 today.

“We have a few artifacts from Oakley that are singular in their ability to tie the public Annie Oakley to the private Annie Butler,” said Dr. Diana Vela, associate executive director. “This belt is one of the objects that she worked on in her private time while she was on tour.”

Annie Oakley is a Hall of Fame Honoree, and in addition to the belt, the Museum has other Oakley objects on display. 

Oakley, born on Aug. 13, 1860, has been featured through the years in books, plays and television series and has continued to be a popular figure in American culture. Oakley shares commonalities with other Museum Honorees, most notably, retired United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the museum said. 

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“Both Oakley and O’Connor broke barriers by being in traditional male-only fields, both were skilled horsewomen and both were mindful of the optics of being female in a customary male role, and as such, made conscious choices in attire,” Vela said. “Most importantly, both were not afraid to take on entities much larger than themselves – Oakley most notably with the Hearst Corporation.”

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

1720 Gendy St.

Fort Worth 76107

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Hours of operation: Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $12 for adults (ages 13+); $9 for seniors (60+), military and first responders; $9 for children (ages 3 to 12); and children 3 and under get in free with paid adult.

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