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Artifacts travel to Medora

Press Photo by Beth Wischmeyer A Stark County Sheriff's Department vehicle, back, escorts North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame Executive Director Darrell Dorgan, front, as Dorgan transports historical artifacts on Interstate 94 near Dickinson en route to the NDCHF in Medora, Thursday.

Visitors to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora this season will once again get a chance to see one-of-a-kind artifacts.

A vest formerly owned by Sioux leader Sitting Bull, along with guns formerly owned by Wild West showman William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody, traveled from Bismarck to Medora today, slated to be a part of exhibits at the NDCHF during its upcoming season.

The vest will become part of an exhibit called "Civil War in the West," which focuses on land ownership on the Western plains. Another piece includes a six shooter formerly owned by Buffalo Bill, which was on display last season at the museum, said Darrell Dorgan, NDCHF executive director. Other items are slated to come later.

Both items are on loan from other museums.

"What happens is they come by air into Bismarck and we keep them in a bank in Bismarck," Dorgan said. "When we get ready to move it, we call the county sheriffs from Burleigh, Morton and Stark and Billings (counties), and each one meets us along the way and escorts us."

For the items to be insured, Dorgan said security, both when the items are traveling and when they are display in the museum, is required. At any given time, the hall must remain between 68 and 72 degrees and must range between 45 and 55 percent humidity so the items are preserved.

Dorgan said the hall was recently notified they were selected as the 2010 National Cowboy Museum of the Year. The award will be presented to NDCHF Board members and trustees at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas, in September.

"For us it's really a big deal," Dorgan said.

The hall was nominated by a visitor, he added.

Medora Mayor Doug Ellison said he's gotten a chance to look at the artifacts that arrived Thursday, and calls them "unique," adding the exhibits bring in visitors.

"They are a very big draw for the hall of fame and reflects really well on the town," Ellison said.

The museum opens May 15 and is open daily through October from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information on the museum or to see upcoming events, visit