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Security Director Who Became Internet Star Gets Exhibit At National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Tim Tiller, director of security at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Tim Tiller, director of security at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City

The head of security at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City took the internet by storm when he was tasked with running the museum’s social media accounts at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the security director turned internet star has an exhibition of his own at the museum.

The exhibition #HashtagtheCowboy opened March 17 and features the viral social media posts of Tim Tiller, the museum’s director of security. In his endearing posts, Tiller shows off artifacts in the museum’s collection as he learns the ropes of social media. 

A screenshot of Tim Tiller’s post on the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Twitter.
Credit Tim Tiller / National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
A screenshot of Tim Tiller’s post on the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Twitter.

Tiller’s security guard uniform and bolo tie are also included in the exhibition as well as letters and gifts he’s received from fans around the world. 

Nathan Jones, associate curator of history at the museum, said the exhibition is a physical representation of what has brought people joy online during the pandemic. 

“There's a tendency to look back on 2020 and just see the bad things,” Jones said. “And while there were plenty of catastrophes going on around us, there were also moments of genuine human connection when we were all feeling very isolated. So this was one of the big highlights for this museum's community and for our online followers.”

A screenshot of Tim Tiller’s post on the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Twitter.
Credit Tim Tiller / National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
A screenshot of Tim Tiller’s post on the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Twitter.

Tiller took on the additional role of assisting with social media since he was one of the few employees allowed in the museum while it was temporarily shut down in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Even after the museum reopened, Tiller has remained involved in posting on social media. 

Seth Spillman, the museum’s chief marketing and communications officer, said Tiller’s social media posts have attracted new visitors to the museum. 

The exhibition runs through Aug. 8.

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Katelyn discovered her love for radio as a student employee at KGOU, graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and then working as a reporter and producer in 2021-22. Katelyn has completed internships at SiriusXM in New York City and at local news organizations such as The Journal Record and The Poteau Daily News. Katelyn served as president of the OU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists from 2017 to 2020. She grew up in Midland, Texas.
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