Police recover historic powder horn stolen from Dearborn museum in 1950s

Detroit Historical Society reclaims essential piece of city's history

DEARBORN, Mich. - Officials have recovered an essential piece of Detroit history that was thought to be gone forever.

A historic powder horn was stolen from a Dearborn museum in the 1950s, but on Tuesday, with the help of Dearborn police and the FBI, it's back in the hands of the Detroit Historical Society.

"When artifacts go missing, they're seldom, if ever, recovered," said Elena Rugh, CEO of the Detroit Historical Society.

Officials said the horn, which has been through quite a journey, holds a lot of significance.

"It was made for use originally in the French and Indian War and then was used again in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812," Rugh said.

The Detroit Historical Museum bought the horn in 1947, then shared it with the Dearborn Historical Museum, from where it was stolen.

"It's been a subject of conversation here all these years since," said Jack Tate, the chief curator for the Dearborn Historical Museum.

There's been an ongoing investigation to find the missing horn for years. It was sold at an auction in 1991 to an unknown buyer.

Dearborn police worked with FBI agents to find the horn, finally recovering it late last year.

"It's absolutely critical from the FBI's perspective to investigate matters that involve art theft, fraud, forgery, trafficking of cultural property," said Jake Archer, of the FBI Art Crime Team in Philadelphia.

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