Playlist: Hits from the Museum’s Collection

June 2 - July 8, 2018

Wickenburg has always had a musical soundtrack, whether it was the marching band that greeted President McKinley upon his arrival in Congress in 1901, or the grand opening of the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg in 2001.

In the mid-20th century, Western music came to define not only the Southwest, but an entire era in the national imagination.  In “The Dude Ranch Capital of the World”, artists like Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, and Marty Robbins would have been the soundtrack to many Easterners’ Western vacations – and Wickenburg could boast a musical celebrity of its own. Romaine Lowdermilk, who founded Wickenburg’s Kay El Bar Guest Ranch in 1918, was a nationally celebrated musical entertainer who established a residency at the Arizona Biltmore in the late 1920s. Rodeo Association of America champion Everett Bowman joined Wickenburg’s law enforcement in 1944 and transformed his barn into a musical venue, which brought “dudes” and locals together to dance on Saturday nights to the talents of performers such as Hank Williams.

Playlist: Hits from the Museum’s Collection recalls that nostalgic era in which the Desert Caballeros Western Museum was founded. It recalls a romantic version of the West, full of open spaces and open opportunity. By pairing popular music of the time with art, artifacts, and photographs from the Museum’s collection, this exhibition strives to capture a snapshot those extraordinary days where nearly every youngster wanted to grow up to be a cowboy or cowgirl.


Fri., June 1 | Friday on Frontier: Playlist Preview | 5:30 – 7 p.m., free