He never met a man he didn’t like: A visit to the Will Rogers Museum

He never met a man he didn’t like.

Will Rogers was born in Oologah, OK, and his final resting place is at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, OK.

Rogers made a name for himself in vaudeville as doing roping tricks, eventually making it to the Ziegfeld Follies. He then made silent films, talking pictures, wrote syndicated newspaper columns and broadcasted on the radio. Rogers was always on top of his communication game.
Rogers died in 1935 in a plane crash in Alaska.

Will Rogers statue near his tomb. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica P.)

Will Rogers statue near his tomb. (Comet Over Hollywood/Jessica P.)

“When commercial radio evolved, Rogers quickly migrated to the new format,” said an exhibit at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. “If alive today, he probably would be blogging and tweeting.”

This past September, my co-worker Brittany Randolph and I went on a road trip to Oklahoma. She loves the plains and I was along for an adventure. I didn’t care where we went as long as we visited the Will Rogers Rogers Memorial Museum.

The museum includes:
-Rogers’s saddle collection such as Mongolian, French and Navajo saddles
-A gallery of portraits painted of Will Rogers
-A theater that shows “The Will Rogers Story” narrated that Bob Hope
-Rogers’s tiny saddle collection
-A smaller theater that shows Will Rogers films
-A diorama on Will Rogers life
-Artifacts such as hats, scripts or costumes that belonged to Rogers
-History on Rogers’ family, dating back to his Native American heritage
-Rooms of the museum recreate rooms of Rogers’s home such as his study-modeled to make him think of ranch life
-Will Rogers’ grave site is in a garden outside the museum with a large statue of him on a horse.
-Samples of some of his radio broadcasts

Part of Rogers's tiny saddle collection

Part of Rogers’s tiny saddle collection

Portrait of Will Rogers

Portrait of Will Rogers

A hat of Will Rogers

A hat of Will Rogers

Me posing with Will Rogers lobby cards

Me posing with Will Rogers lobby cards

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Watching a Will Rogers film

Watching a Will Rogers film

Young Will Rogers

Young Will Rogers

Will Rogers's family had a pet cow that stayed in the house like a dog

Will Rogers’s family had a pet cow that stayed in the house like a dog

Gorgeous ceilings of the museum

Gorgeous ceilings of the museum

Portrait of Will Rogers

Portrait of Will Rogers

Small sculpture of Rogers roping a calf

Small sculpture of Rogers roping a calf

Part of Will Rogers saddle collection

Part of Will Rogers saddle collection

The back of the Will Rogers Museum

The back of the Will Rogers Museum

Will Rogers tomb

Will Rogers tomb

Posing with Will Rogers's statue

Posing with Will Rogers’s statue

The museum opened in 1938 and was dedicated on what would have been his 59th birthday. The land where the museum stands was purchased by Will and his wife Betty in 1911. Betty donated the land to the state in 1937, according to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum.

Along with Rogers, his wife Betty (d. 1944) and their four children: Fred Stone Rogers, 1918-1920; Mary Amelia Rogers Brooks, 1913-1989; and James Blake (­Jim) Rogers, 1915-2000; as well as Jim’s wife, Marguerite Astrea Kemmler Rogers, 1917-1987 lay to rest behind the museum.

If you are ever in the Claremore, OK area, I highly suggest visiting the Will Rogers Memorial Museum.

For someone who lives in the southeast with few historical film museums to offer, it was a treat to get to visit the Will Rogers Museum and his resting place.
It was peaceful and a beautiful tribute to a highly respected man.

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“Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on Earth.”

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2 thoughts on “He never met a man he didn’t like: A visit to the Will Rogers Museum

  1. I visited the museum last April. For reasons I can’t really explain, I just suddenly had an interest in Will Rogers the last couple of years, so I can assure you, I was in Nirvana for 4 hours while I poured all over the museum. I also visited his birthplace, and I’ve been telling anybody I thought would be traveling through Oklahoma to visit the Will Rogers Museum. For me, the funniest was watching the movie “A Day in 365” (not in the theater, but in another hallway), and the most, I guess, emotional moment was the display that showed all the items found in the plane crash. Am so glad you went. And by the way, my friend sent me the link to this article in case you were wondering……..

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  2. Reblogged this on Moonlit Prairie and commented:
    will rogers spirit is still present daily around claremore and rogers county. we could have had a lot worse for forefathers of this community. he was a great man in so many ways.

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