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Legend of 'The Rifleman' on display
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Now that “The Rifleman” sculpture in the Barton County Courthouse Square has undergone a professional cleaning and waxing, the Barton County Historical Society is looking at long-term preservation of outdoor art and monuments.
An 8-foot photo of “The Rifleman” is on display at the Barton County Historical Society Museum.
Also on display for a short time are items that belonged to Civil War veteran Ira D. Brougher, who commissioned the sculpture. Brougher’s sword, as well as his shaving mug and razor strop are in the west wing of the museum.
Two-sided, full-color 18 by 24 inch posters of “The Rifleman” are available at the Historical Museum and Village, said Beverly Komarek, executive director. They are available for a $10 donation, which will be earmarked for future preservation efforts.
One side of the poster shows a photo of the sculpture taken in 1915 when it was first dedicated. Standing next to the sculpture is Brougher, who dedicated the sculpture by Frederick C. Hubbard. The “1915 side” of the poster also shows the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) medal worn by Brougher; it commemorates the 34th annual encampment, held in Hutchinson in 1915. The medal is in the GAR collection at the Barton County Historical Society Museum.
Brougher lost his right arm at the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. He later settled in Kansas and became a successful businessman and community leader. Brougher family legend has Ira as the model for “The Rifleman,” although the Union solider standing at the ready in Hibbard’s sculpture is 18 years old.
The “2015 side” of the poster shows Conservator Ron Harvey waxing the statue prior to its 100th anniversary. There is also a GAR button and all of the names from the plaques on the statue. Additional information is contained on both sides.
This poster was designed by Scott Ward, who was also the designer of the museum-quality Hometown Team/Argonne Rebels Drum and Bugle Corps exhibit that was shown this past summer at the Great Bend Public Library.

Looking ahead
The Rifleman and GAR items will be up at least through this week, but after that the museum staff will be setting up its annual holiday displays. The 2015 Ghosts of Christmas Past open house will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at the museum. Admission will be free that day.
The Barton County Historical Museum & Village is at 85 South U.S. 281, just south of the Arkansas River Bridge in Great Bend. Winter hours (October through April) are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

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