Old West Wax Museum &
Dancing Bear Folk Center Complex
Highway 20 in downtown Thermopolis (307) 864-9396


The wax figures in the Old West Wax Museum were developed more than 30 years ago by Kenneth Bunn, now nationally recognized for his bronze sculptures of Western wildlife. There are more than 80 of the original figures with their backdrops. A recently acquired collection of historic documents that can also be seen here includes historic photographs and maps dating from 1772. An extensive collection of historic newspapers and early printed etchings shows the West as it was portrayed by America’s writers, journalists, and artists in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Also here, at the Dancing Bear Folk Center, are the Textile Studio and Teddy Bear Den. No scrap of fabric went unused on the frontier. Clothes were passed down from one child to the next. When past wearing, they were made into other useful items. Old coats and blankets became rugs and bed spreads. Cottons and silks became quilts that rival modern art in their complexity. Sacks that once held flour became undergarments, sheets, and tablecloths. New dresses could be made from chicken feed sacks. The studio includes spinning wheels, looms, early sewing machines, and examples of folk handiwork, such as rug-making, crochet, knitting, tatting, basket-making, weaving and other needle arts.

The Teddy Bear Den is an unusual collection of soft-sculpture “teddy bears” representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. They are arranged in settings representing historical events, geographical areas, and other unexpected scenes.

Call for hours, and to learn about visiting speakers, craftspeople, and demonstators.

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