October 14, 2003
Autry Introduces MC101s to the American
West--Or at Least the Media Version of It
The Autry Museum of Western Heritage is a very appropriate place for a Mass Comm 101 field trip. It compares the media version of the American West with the actual West.

Our Tuesday afternoon outing began in the plaza next to this bronze of Gene Autry on his horse Champion.


The museum does a particularly good job of putting visitors into scenes from the Old West. This outdoor setting looks like something out of a thousand Westerns, but in reality it is quite near the interchange of the Golden State and Ventura Freeways.

Besides, the guy at the edge of the photo talking on his cell phone places this scene squarely in the early 21st Century.

Inside the museum, visitors have the opportunity to put themselves in an Old West scene on horseback.
Despite all the fun, the MC101s had a serious assignment to do. There was plenty of thinking and note-taking.
We looked at artifacts from the actual American West.
The Wild West featured more than its share of marginal characters. This latter-day desperado made his way into the jail exhibit on the museum's lower level.
The MC101s eventually made their way to the Spirit of Imagination gallery, which traceed the development of the idealized American West through the mass media.