Annie Oakley Comes to Life…WOW

It is not my nature to be precise. My attention to detail is not my strongest trait. Consequently my appreciation of people who have these traits is off the charts.

In our new Wild West Gallery there will be five “Peppers Ghosts” devoted to Annie Oakley. Peppers Ghosts are a hologram type optical illusion that allows a 3D image of a person or character to come to life. The technique was named for John Avery Pepper who popularized the effect in 1862. Even though this is a technique that has been around for over one hundred years, the precision and absolute accuracy needed to create the effect has not gotten any easier.

Last week the team that is creating our Annie Oakley Pepper’s Ghost was here working and I spent the entire time in utter amazement. Everything that they have created is authentic and perfect. The costume they had made for the actress who portrays Annie is realistic down to the last stitch. The hat that we see Annie wearing in so many of her iconic photographs is a Stetson, and the people at Stetson today created an exact replica. All the set pieces were built by model makers and when compared to photographs of the real objects were identical.

The visitors seeing the new Wild West Gallery will get to see Annie in such a special real way. And they will also get to hear her exact words. Diana Vela, the Museum’s director of education and exhibitions wrote the scripts for the five different scenes and she was tireless in her research to make sure every word that is spoken is historically accurate and taken from letters, diaries and journals that Annie actually wrote.

I am so thankful for the team that is working on this project and their dedication to making sure it over the top amazing. It is all coming together and we are all getting more excited to have it open so all can see!