Chisholm Trail exhibit panorama

The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West

The Chisholm Trail fundamentally changed the American West. From the birth of the cowboy as icon to the revival of the cattle industry, the Old Chisholm Trail helped shape our popular culture by altering how we thought of the American West and the individuals who lived there. The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West is a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. This traveling exhibit, a collaboration between Symphony in the Flint Hills and Flint Hills Design with major sponsorship from Lost Trail Soda, invites visitors of all ages for to explore the Chisholm Trail from its inception in the late 1860s to today.

The exhibit design embodies the spirit of the West in look and feel, all while breaking down into lightweight, easy-to-move components, without extra crates taking up space in storage. The materials and design methods evoke worn wood, torn paper, and oiled metal, imbuing your traveling exhibit space with an Old West feel.

Exhibit highlights include a comprehensive and accessible synthesis of new and existing research on the Chisholm Trail, a musical exploration of the cowboy song “The Old Chisholm Trail,” clips from films such as The Old Chisholm Trail and Red River, that reference the Chisholm Trail, and several artistically rendered, life-size longhorn cattle formed from blackened steel. Younger visitors can create their own brands with the “Brand Your Beeves” interactive station.

Chisholm Trail Traveling Exhibit

DURATION 7 weeks
SQUARE FOOTAGE Approx. 1,200 ft2
TOURING DATES January 2017 –

Chisholm Trail Schedule

January 12 – March 7, 2017
March 9 – May 2, 2017
May 4 – June 27, 2017
June 29 – August 22, 2017
August 24 – October 17, 2017
October 19 – December 12, 2017
December 14, 2017 – February 6, 2018
February 8 – April 3, 2018
April 5 – May 29, 2018
May 31 – July 24, 2018
July 26 – September 18, 2018
September 20 – November 13, 2018
November 22, 2018 – January 15, 2019Reserve it!
January 17 – March 12, 2019Reserve it!
March 14 – May 7, 2019Reserve it!
May 9 – July 2, 2019Reserve it!
July 5 – August 27, 2019Reserve it!
August 29 – October 22, 2019Reserve it!
October 24 – December 17, 2019Reserve it!
December 19, 2019 – February 11, 2020Reserve it!
February 13 – April 7, 2020Reserve it!
April 9 – June 2, 2020Reserve it!
June 4 – July 28, 2020Reserve it!
July 30 – September 22, 2020Reserve it!
September 24 – November 17, 2020Reserve it!


“Flint Hills Design produces meticulously researched exhibits that are thoughtful, compelling, evocative, and beautifully crafted. Always mindful of visitor experience and museum resources, their exacting standards are on display with every exhibit they create.”

Jami Frazier Tracy
Curator of Collections, The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum

“Caldwell’s very existence was due to the cattle drives of the Chisholm Trail. Hosting the commemorative 150th exhibit in our beautiful Opera House during our annual Chisholm Trail Festival was the sparkling crown on this “Border Queen” city. A very professional and well-done exhibit.”

“This exhibit contributed immensely to our annual Chisholm Trail Festival & brought visitors in to pump up our crowd numbers. Perfect fit for us. Beautifully displayed in our renovated Opera House on the intersection of a state & a US highway. It received great attention. High school history classes and grade school toured our exhibit & local history.”

Jill Kuehny
Caldwell Historical Society

Frequently Asked Questions about the Chisholm Trail Exhibit

What is required to lock in our reservation?

A verbal commitment gets you started (we put the PENDING notification on the calendar), but we require a deposit and a signed hosting agreement to lock it in for sure. If you’re thinking about reserving a date, let us know and we’ll hold it for you until you can get approval for payment.

How does the exhibit travel?

Because of it’s size (well, the size of the longhorn steer sculptures!), we’ll bring the exhibit to you and help you install it.

Is this exhibit kid-friendly?

Absolutely! Here are a few photos of a visit with kids.

My boys have been asking endless questions about the Chisholm Trail, so we decided it was time for a visit to see the exhibit! They had a great time.

Posted by Flint Hills Design on Saturday, February 4, 2017

Man it's fun when an exhibit comes together! Only one week left until this one hits the road. It's gonna be great!The…

Posted by Flint Hills Design on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Several of us enjoyed this year's Symphony in the Flint Hills signature event in Chase County today. Sketching new exhibit ideas while listening to great music in the middle of the prairie is tough to beat!

Posted by Flint Hills Design on Saturday, June 11, 2016

I’ve seen “Founding Institutions” listed on your exhibits before. What does that mean?

We like to recognize those that support our projects from the very beginning. So for the first 5 institutions that book the exhibit, we acknowledge their support by including them in the exhibit credits. It’s a small way of showing our gratitude for those that help to bring these exhibits to life!

Founding Institutions:

Thanks to the following institutions for being willing to support this project from the very beginning. We couldn’t have done it without you!

  • Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
  • Caldwell Chamber of Commerce
  • Eisenhower Foundation
  • Kauffman Museum
  • Boot Hill Museum

We’re not a museum, but we’d still like to host the traveling exhibit. Is that possible?

You certainly don’t have to be a museum to host the exhibit, or even a non-profit. So long as you have the space and meet the basic security requirements, you can be a valid host. Please send us a message letting us know your situation and we’ll get the process started!

I’d like to follow along on future projects that you’re building. What’s the best way to stay in touch?

That’s awesome. We’re glad you like what you see. We post a lot of in-progress photos on Facebook, so like us there to see what’s going on. Also, we’d love it if you would join our mailing list. We only send out the good stuff through there–we’re not fans of excess email. Just fill out this form and you’ll be in!