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Security Guard, New To Social Media, Gets Attention For Cowboy Museum

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Work has changed for almost everyone during this pandemic. Parents have become teachers. Partners have become hairstylists. And at one museum, a security guard has been put in charge of social media.

TIM TILLER: (Reading) Hello, friends. My name is Tim, and I'm the head of security for the Cowboy. I've been asked to take the additional duty of social media management while the museum is closed. I am new to social media but excited to share what I'm told is called content on all the cowboys - what I am told are platforms, including the Twitter, the Facebook and the Instagram. My team and I will also continue to protect and monitor the museum and grounds. Thanks - Tim.

GREENE: That is Tim Tiller reading his first post from March, when he added social media to his portfolio. He usually runs security at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, but he has become a social media sensation, earning the museum hundreds of thousands of followers using hashtags because his grandson told him to. It's been fun, but he says he would much rather the museum be open for visitors again.

TILLER: I'm used to seeing people in here, used to staying busy. So it's very different walking around the museum with nobody here. It's just hard to get used to.

GREENE: You're kind of new to social media, right?

TILLER: I am very new to social media, yes.

GREENE: And I notice in looking through on Instagram and elsewhere, that whenever you use a hashtag, you actually write out the word hashtag...

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: ...Which has kind of become part of your brand.

TILLER: Yeah. That started off as fun, you know, and we just kind of stuck with it.

GREENE: Can I ask you about you, personally, in this crisis? I mean, has this touched you personally in any way?

TILLER: As of right now, it has not, no. You know, it's affected us, not with any sickness but, of course, it's affected us. You know, it's hard. It's a very difficult thing for everybody.

GREENE: I think you're absolutely right about that. And, you know, seeing these images of the museum, it gives me some sort of sense of, like, these kinds of places are still going to be there and be ready for us whenever this is all over.

TILLER: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, that's what we're trying to do. We want to get people out there. And we hope all the people that have said that, you know, hey, when you guys open back up, we're going to come see you - we really hope that they do. This is an exciting and fabulous place with a lot of art and history of the West, and I think everyone needs to see it. Even those that aren't interested in the West I think would be amazed at some of the collection that we have here.

GREENE: You said you came to the museum four years ago?

TILLER: I started here full time in 2016 as a floor guard and have worked my way up to where I am now. I love this museum.

GREENE: What drew you to the job?

TILLER: Early on, when this place opened up, my dad brought me here when I was a kid. And, you know, I grew up on a little farm. I was just always attracted to this sort of thing. You know, I grew up watching John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Yul Brynner (laughter), "Gunsmoke" - you know, all of that. I really enjoy this place. I love the content. I love the art. I love the history. I love the people I work with. It is a fantastic place all the way around.

(SOUNDBITE OF BALMORHEA'S "MASOLLAN")

GREENE: That was Tim Tiller. He's acting social media manager at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which remains closed right now. His posts make it clear he is ready to welcome us all back.

TILLER: (Reading) Oh, what a beautiful morning. Wish you were here. Glad you're staying home. Hashtag, hashtag - the Cowboy. Thanks - Tim.

(SOUNDBITE OF BALMORHEA'S "MASOLLAN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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