(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Hundreds of museums celebrate the American West, but True West magazine says the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph is one of the best.
“Well, I got a phone call," said Cindy Daffron, the executive director of the Pony Express Museum. "She (True West magazine) said, ‘Well, I’m going to make your day.’ And I go ‘really....something? That would be really nice.’ And she said, ‘you realized you ranked in the top 10 in the museums across the United States by our editors and our writing crew.” And I go, ‘seriously?”
In fact, the Pony Express Museum came in at number four in True West's top 10 western museums of 2020.
To receive the recognition in the middle of a pandemic came as quite the surprise to Daffron.
“But to get a phone call and find out in the middle of all this, and you’re trying to figure out how to keep the doors open and do what we can do when we can re-open and to realize that we receive an award in that year, is a huge feeling. At the time I was like, ‘are you serious?’ I mean, it was the last thing on my mind.”
It wasn't the only surprise. When the museum received the honor, Daffron had no idea until the magazine came, that on page 16 the Pony Express was featured in an additional story.
“We’re under the ‘Old West Saviors’ because we are preserving pieces that are golden from the steamer trunk, to the roll top desk," said Daffron.
The Pony Express Museum was recognized in the top 10 last year as well, but to come in at fourth best in the middle of a pandemic, means even more to the folks at the museum.
“A great huge thank you for the honor. It’s really great to be the executive director at a time when things feel really bad, to get a shot in the arm and say, ‘hey, here’s an award.’ So, it was truly non-expected, but completely appreciated," Daffron explained.
The executive editor of the True West magazine, Bob Boze Bell, said that "The Pony Express Museum has done a remarkable job of preserving and presenting its history. It truly is a top western museum."
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. and Sunday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M.