In addition to the exhibits there is a Hall of Honorees, theatre, gift shop, and open patio. There is a video that runs continuously in the theatre that provides a good summary of the museum. The galleries are dedicated to Native Americans, trail drivers, ranchers, homesteaders, and the rodeo. The horse is really the centerpiece of North Dakota history.
There were many different types of saddles on display including both vintage and modern-day ones. Below are two: the Model 1859 McClellan was the most popular saddle of its day (used by Union horse soldiers during the Civil War and cavalry troops during the Plains Indian Wars; the second is made of rawhide, wood and buffalo bones and was used by the Plains Indians for buffalo hunting and fighting battles. Ceremonial saddles, however, were elaborately decorated with beads and quill work.
The horses used by the Native Americans were small, stocky, and very hardy. They were only about 14 hands tall and weighed 700 pounds (which is why they are sometimes called a pony). They originated from horses brought to North America by the Spanish: the Barb and Andalusian. The wild horses found today in Little Missouri Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park are descendants of the Native American horses. They have been designated the North Dakota State Horse and are also known as the Nokota Horse. I found this map very interesting...
Native Americans decorated their tepees, clothes and ceremonial items with horses. The images tell stories of the tribe's success in hunting and battle.
Clothing and tobacco pouches (by Lakota Sioux, Chippewa, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes) were decorated with intricate beadwork.
The Texas Longhorn displayed here was one (of 300) on the "Great American Cattle Drive" in 1995. It originated in Fort Worth, TX, and ended in Miles City, MT...a 1,500-mile trip. Important to any cattle drive was the chuck wagon and, of course, the cook.
There were lots of authentic artifacts in this "cowboy's room."
A gallery is devoted to the great rodeo events and stars from North Dakota.
There is an extensive Winchester Rifle and vintage handguns (c 1900). This exhibit features the Winchester Model 94 Rifle that was continuously manufactured in various styles from 1894 to 2006. Over 6.5M have been produced and was widely used in the Old West.
The Hall of Honorees is on the second floor.
It celebrates the people, ranches, events, and horses that comprise the western spirit of North Dakota.
When exiting the museum to the gift shop you'll find this room that offers kids the opportunity to dress up in Western gear and "ride" these horses!
All and all, a very fun and informative experience. We saw lots of families here with kids from toddlers to teenagers.
Admission is $6/senior and $9/adults. For additional information, hours of operation, etc., check out their website at www.northdakatocowboy.com.