Mary Schmitt, Owner - Mary found herself attracted to American heritage in a roundabout way: through living abroad and exploring foreign languages. Having learned 6 languages, and obtained a degree in International Relations, she realized that she was drawn to her own American culture. While working in high-tech product marketing, she found herself seeking more tangible and lasting products. She began scouring flea markets every weekend and going to auctions. When friends began to hire her to find them things, she quickly realized that she had a talent for the trade. Mary took a leap of faith and turned her weekend hobby into a thriving business that she loves. An expert in Native American Indian, National Parks and cowboy artifacts, history and preservation, Mary is a skilled appraiser of anything in those categories. When not at auctions or weekend fairs, you can find Mary in the store and get first-hand knowledge of the pieces she has. Unless she’s out riding her horse.
History of the store – Cayuse started loosely out of owner Mary Schmitt’s home with the help and passion of her mother, Barbara. Mary is enthusiastic about collecting the most interesting, historic antiques she could find and she enjoys sharing her finds with interested parties. She quickly realized a gallery space was essential and found a historic home in Jackson to open Cayuse in 1997. Mary liked the idea of the gallery being off the beaten path. The ambiance of the old house allows Cayuse to showcase the artifacts in a home-like environment so that shoppers can envision how the items will look in a home.
And as for the name? – When searching for the perfect name for the business, she wanted something that was meaningful in both the cowboy and Native American world. The name represents an Indian tribe called Cailloux by the French trappers that roughly translates into “rocky”. The phonetic spelling transformed the name to Cayuse; this group had a huge horse-breeding program and the horses they sold began to be referred to as a Cayuse. The name gradually spread into cowboy lingo, and depending on the horse you were referring to, it could be derogatory, or endearing.
Mission statement – Our mission at Cayuse Western Americana is to preserve western heritage and generate interest in others by providing the best examples of historic Western Americana, knowledge about our collections, and service to other individuals and entities who strive to protect our western heritage.
Accolades/Awards/Featured In –
Clients – Our clients include: The Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Polo Ralph Lauren. Our collections have appeared in movies and on movie stars, on rock stars and country stars. We’re most proud, however, of the hundreds of people who really have a love of the west in their hearts and continue to let us assist in adding to their collections.
Since opening its doors in 1997, Cayuse Western Americana has offered Jackson Hole a museum-like setting to showcase one-of-a-kind antiques. Owned and operated by expert Mary Schmitt, the historic downtown store amazes customers with its collection of cowboy, Native American Indian and National Park artifacts. The trained staff can tell you the history and heritage of each unique item and take you on a cultural tour of America’s westward expansion. Cayuse offers an incredible selection of art, jewelry, artifacts, and other memorabilia.