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‘Night at the Museum’

Commemorating aviators of the past

Eloise Ogden/MDN “The Duchess of Dakota,” shown Wednesday at the Dakota Territory Air Museum, Minot, is among aircraft those attending “The Night at the Museum” hangar dance can view on Saturday at the museum. Reenactments about aviators of the past will be presented that evening.

North Dakota native the late Murray Lawler flew C-47 transport planes in World War II.

Lawler and his wife, Margaret, met and were married in England. He named his plane “The Duchess of Dakota.” The late Margaret Lawler was the first war bride to arrive in North Dakota in 1946.

The Lawlers’ story and the stories of famous aviators of the past will be told by reenactors on Saturday when the Dakota Territory Air Museum holds its final event for the season, “The Night at the Museum” hangar dance.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and music by deejay KO and reenactment skits will begin at 7 p.m. There will also be a silent auction.

Open to everyone, the cost is $10 per person (regular museum admission). Food and refreshments are an extra cost. Refreshments will be from The Spot.

Those who would like can dress in 1940s attire but it is not required to attend, said Robin Brekhus, air museum events coordinator. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

The Lawlers’ son, the late Jim Lawler of Mandan, who was general manager of the Mandan Airport and a longtime member of the Minot air museum, told The Minot Daily News in a 2014 interview about his parents and “The Duchess of Dakota:”

“The story I’ve been told over the years is that when he met her, he asked her if she was a queen or princess – the story varies — and she said, ‘no, I’m just a common girl.’ He said from now on you’ll be ‘The Duchess of Dakota.’ “

A C-47/C-53 at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot is named “The Duchess of Dakota” and also painted like the plane that Murray Lawler flew in World War II.

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