For decades, Pamela Harr has built a reputation as a professional bronze artist, depicting Western subjects, including female pioneers.
“Women are a big part of our history and made some amazing contributions to settling the West,” says Harr.
Part of what makes her artwork so impactful is the research behind each piece. Harr spent hours upon hours compiling historical notes on her subjects so that she could portray them as authentically as possible.
That is how she first got involved with the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
“I had a show at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, which was at that time in Hereford, Texas, in the library basement with a few mannequins,” Harr remembers, “but I could see that it was really going somewhere eventually.”
To help the Cowgirl Hall of Fame along, Harr donated several sculptures to the museum. One was of a very confident looking Sacajawea. (Though she is well-renowned today, she was an obscure historical figure at that time.) Another was of Abigail Gardener, who was taken captive by the Sioux, following an 1857 massacre of indigenous people near Spirit Lake, Iowa. Harr’s most prized work of art is “The Price,” which portrays Narcissa Whitman, a missionary and the first white woman to cross the Rockies on the Oregon Trail. The sculpture depicts Narcissa crying to heaven in anguish while clutching the body of her infant daughter, Alice, who drowned near the family’s mission in 1839. (A life-sized version of the bronze can be found at Our Park in Glendive.)
“Those pioneer women were so strong,” says Harr.
The Cowgirl Hall of Fame appreciated the donation of Harr’s bronzes, as well as the historical documentation she provided with them. Through her art and research, Harr helped keep the spirit of these pioneer women alive. For this reason, Harr was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1981.
“I am humbled to be among these amazing women that contributed so much to history,” she says.
Today, the Cowgirl Hall of Fame is a multi-million-dollar museum located in Fort Worth. There are 243 honorees to date, including eleven from Montana: Evelyn Cameron, Marie Gibson, Ann Seacrest Hanson, Lynn “Jonnie” Jonckowski, Sheila Kirkpatrick, Bobby Brooks Kramer, Rose Wilder Lane, Diane Scalese, Fannie Sperry Steele, Barbara Van Cleve, and Pamela Harr.