The Between Fences Smithsonian exhibit is a popular attraction in the town of Medora. It is no wonder, considering the town's western flavor and heritage. The exhibit stimulates visitors to carry the concept of fences farther than just wood and wire. It is this new mindset that many bring with them to Medora's seven museums and it creates a deeper appreciation for other exhibits.
On June 29th, the Chateau de Mores State Historical Site and the Billings County Historical Society hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for Between Fences with special guests U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, State Senator Bill Bowman, and State Representative Pam Gulleson. Local elementary students were also present at the event to be recognized for their work which is displayed in the exhibit. Medora area students were given cameras earlier in the year and asked to take pictures of fences in their lives. A PowerPoint presentation and booklets made by the children are available for viewing at the beginning of the exhibit.
U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan stands with students Thomas Christensen and Anya Baranko alongside their teacher Kathy Chernenko to acknowledge their work in the Between Fences exhibit.
Two large maps have been placed on the walls near the guest book, one of the United States of America and the other of the World. All visitors are encouraged to place a stick pin in their hometown. So many visitors from North Dakota have attended the exhibit that a North Dakota state map was added. It is interesting to see how many visitors from across the world have ended up in Medora.
The latter half of the Between Fences exhibit's stay in Medora will be supported by special events on Tuesday. The Between Fences speakers program for Medora featured Dr. Barbara Handy-Marchello on July 15. She is the state scholar for the exhibition and offered a slide presentation on the use of walls, fences, and other boundaries from world history. As an interactive program, the audience participated in a "quiz" and took part in a game that led to discussion about the changing meaning of fences and boundaries. Special productions of Recollections of Murder and Mayhem in Medora will be held on July 22 and 29. The play chronicles the murder trials of the Marquis de Mores, the French aristocratic founder of Medora. The Marquis' efforts to fence and civilize the land led to disputes with local free range cattlemen culminating in a shootout that killed one of the cattlemen. Actors in the productions portray the various viewpoints in the subsequent murder trials. Teddy Blue Abbot will be presenting on July 29 and 30. His performance topics will cover the Texas Trail and the Open Range.
The exhibit is scheduled to stay in Medora on view until August 1. Between Fences is the perfect exhibit to help celebrate Medora's 125th anniversary by bringing more interest and visitors to the town.
-- Marie Zeller, Medora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Medora, ND