McKenzie Co. Heritage Park & Oil Museum Welcomes New Director Ferin Moore

McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum welcomed new director, Ferin Moore, April 4. Moore is a Watford City graduate who moved back to the area in 2022. She previously worked as a para at the Watford City Middle School.

"I thought being the director of the museum would be an interesting change of pace," Moore commented.

The position became available with the retirement of Sandy Rieker who worked as the museum director for the last eight years.

Moore will be responsible for the general oversight of operations such as employees, volunteers, and new and existing exhibit donations. She will also be writing grants and handling fundraising, coordinating events, and will be responsible for community outreach and marketing.

"Most importantly, I will be welcoming everyone who walks through the door," she said.

The McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum spans six acres. Attractions include several historical buildings from McKenzie County such as a homestead shack, barbershop, church, trapper's cabin, train depot, and George Schafer's Law Office. The museum and grounds showcase a number of other exhibits and artifacts including a wooly mammoth femur bone, tusk and tooth.

The museum has recently incorporated a number of exhibits from the Pioneer Museum, which was formerly located in the Long X Trading Post Visitor Center. Musical instruments, clothing and dishes are just some of the items the McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum has adopted, but the most exciting of these is the Charles Bannon exhibit. Charles Bannon confessed to killing the Haven family who lived near Schafer, ND. Despite being detained by authorities, in January 1931 a lynch mob broke down the jailhouse door, overpowered the deputy sheriff and took Bannon, ultimately hanging him from the bridge over Cherry Creek. It was the last lynching in North Dakota and the story was recently told in the movie "End of the Rope", which was filmed in the area.

Some of Moore's first tasks are to finish inventory on the items received from the former Pioneer Museum, and to organize the museum's grand opening which will be held over Memorial Day weekend.

Moore is excited to be part of the McKenzie County Heritage & North Dakota Oil Museum team; in addition to the director's position, Heather Priest runs the park side of the operation, Jordan Hernandez works as the groundskeeper, and Tristae Kuhn organizes the Tater Tots program and Teddy's Kids; both children's' programs will start this summer.

The facility is currently open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. However, they will switch to summer hours Memorial Day weekend, which are Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

The McKenzie County Heritage Park & North Dakota Oil Museum is located at 904 2nd Ave. SW, Watford City, ND. For more information, visit them online at or give them a call at 701-842-6434.


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