COVID-19 shut down Oklahoma museum and revealed a social media star

Great State
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – — There were times this spring when Tim Tiller was the only one in the building.

“200,000 square feet under one roof,” he says. “It was very strange.”

He walked his post as head of security at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum every weekday.

His job was a little easier with no one running around.

“No,” he laughs. “No one was touching any art.”

But he missed sharing his favorite place with other people.

“That’s what we’re here for at the museum is to share what we have,” he states.

Right around the time they had to close, the marketing team here, including Seth Spillman, had a meeting with Tim.

They asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking over a few social media duties since he was already there anyway.

“Marketing isn’t essential,” explains Seth, “so we wouldn’t be in the building, but security is.”

Tiller continues, “The marketing team approached me and said, ‘Hey, we have an idea.'”

Spillman recalls the question, “What can we do? How can we keep sharing the museum while we we’re closed?”

So began the rise of a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ‘diamond in the rough’.

His posts on those platforms started to gain a following, partly due to some of Tim’s corny humor, and also his cute innocence about how to write and use hashtags.

Instead of using the # symbol, he just wrote out the word.

He still does that with every post. His many thousands of followers expect it now.

“We had hoped to reach a few people and keep sharing our museum,” says Tim. “But we had no expectations that it would, literally, reach all over the world.”

“Tim is authentically Tim,” says Spillman. “What you see on social media is what you see in real life.”

The Cowboy’s marketing team still has to coordinate with Tim and catch him when he’s not doing his original security job.

We were able to join him on his more extensive rounds that first week the museum was open again, roaming past old friends like Bierstadt’s painting ‘Emmigrants Crossing the Plains’, or looking like a true outlaw roaming the streets of Prosperity Junction with his protective mask pulled up.

There are new patrol paths now too.

The museum just finished off a huge, new outdoor exhibit featuring a town square, native cave dwellings, and even a 20-foot waterfall.

“It is just finished and we’re very excited about it,” Tim says.

Visitors also have a new cowboy spokesperson, someone to guard the art and artifacts if he has to, but, more often, to welcome them in.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” he says.

Tim’s new role as museum spokesperson will continue even now that it’s back open, says Spillman.

For a look at some of his posts over the past couple of months, visit the museum’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.

4Warn Me Weather // Quick Links:


Follow @KFOR on Twitter