The Audie Murphy Medal of Honor Museum, devoted to the memory and honor of America’s most decorated World War II combat soldier and Western actor, will hold its grand opening, dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 3, at 2 pm. The event is sponsored by the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce.
This museum features one of the largest privately owned collections of Audie Murphy items and memorabilia in the United States. Included in the museum are uniforms, medals, photos, movie posters, certified autographs and much more. The collection is very extensive, and feature one-of-a-kind items.
To help mark the occasion, award winning actor/author Michael Dante will be appearing in Tombstone during this weekend’s “Showdown in Tombstone” event for three meet-and-greet sessions. The sessions will be Sept. 3, noon, at the museum. Dante will be at Schieffelin Hall on Sept. 4 and 5, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., where fans may purchase his DVDs, books and autographed photos.
Dante starred, co-starred and guest-starred in more than 30 films and 150 television shows. He co-starred in two films with his friend Audie Murphy, “Apache Rifles” and “Arizona Raiders.”
Recently added items to the museum’s extensive displays are rare collections of ribbons and other personal items that belonged to Desmond Doss (the army medic and hero of the move “Hacksaw Ridge”), Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. George S. Patton, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, Adm. John D. Bulkeley, Maj. Richard I. Bong and Cmdr. David McCampbell.
Museum owner William “Billy” Grey said Murphy loved horses and was one of the best horse-riding actors in Hollywood during his time. Unlike other actors, Murphy insisted on riding his own horses and doing his own stunts as often as the studios would allow.
Commenting on how appropriate it is that he brought the museum to Tombstone, Grey said, “Some folks think that the only time Audie Murphy was in Tombstone was when one of his pictures was playing at the Crystal Theatre. Actually, Audie Murphy visited Tombstone no less than 12 times while he was filming at Old Tucson Studios. At the time he was very popular with his movie fans and, understandably, military veterans. When visiting Tombstone, he just wanted to be by himself. He did not like the notoriety of always being on display, so he would visit Tombstone wearing a disguise so nobody would recognize him.”
Grey said Murphy loved Southern Arizona and owned a horse breeding and training ranch in Vail.
Many local and military organizations will be represented at the ribbon cutting event, including the American Legion, the Marine Corps League, the Scottish American Military Society, the Arizona Rangers, the Tombstone Food Bank and King Solomon Masonic Lodge. The Tombstone High School Jr. ROTC will be presenting the colors.
The museum is at 14 N. Fourth St., north of Fremont Street, across the street from Schieffelin Hall, and is open daily at 11 am. Special private and group tours can be arranged.
Admission fees are $7.50 for those 17 and older, and $5 for kids 12 to 16 years old. Kids younger than 12 are admitted free.