250 Main St.
P.O. Box 137
Medora North Dakota 58645United States
120 N. 3rd St.
Bismarck North Dakota 58501United States
Midwest Living Recommends
An hour here offers important lessons about the Western way of life and its effect on Native Americans and ranchers.
Opened in 2005, this $3 million, 15,000-square-foot facility in downtown Medora is a thoughtful tribute to a way of life that seems a million miles away to anyone not familiar with North Dakota's wide open spaces and rugged badlands. Permanent and traveling exhibits honor the role horses have played in the lives of trail drivers, homesteaders, ranchers and rodeo stars who have called North Dakota home (and the Native Americans who preceded them). Visitors start with a film and wind their way through an exhibit space that includes full-size horses and bison, clothing worn by cowboys and Native Americans, a re-created wagon, old photographs, beautiful saddles preserved under glass and fine art celebrating the cowboy culture. New in 2010, the museum acquired a vest that's currently undergoing DNA testing to determine whether it belonged to Sitting Bull, the Lakota chief and holy man who defied U.S. settlements in the Dakota Territories. A gift shop gives visitors a place to peruse books about Western culture and handmade jewelry. We couldn't resist a genuine leather vest (complete with a Medora sheriff's star) and chaps for a young boy's Halloween costume, complete with fringe and, of course, made in the U.S.A. Admission charged.