Will Rogers Memorial Museum
in Claremore, Oklahoma
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Members Free (Join "Friends of Will Rogers")
17 & under Free
Seniors 62+ $5.00
Military with ID $5.00
Group rates are available. Please call 1.800.324.9455 to book your group.
On a lofty hillside at Claremore, Oklahoma stands the eight-gallery Will Rogers museum. In the foreground is the tomb of Will Rogers chiselled with his famous quotation: "I never met a man I didn't like." Built of native limestone, the regal museum hosts a dozen theaters or television kiosks; a famous saddle collection; fine art and artifacts depicting the life of one of America's most unusual humorist-philosophers, Will Rogers. Born in 1879 on a frontier ranch, Will Rogers used his cowboy trick roping talents to enter show business rising from wild west shows to vaudeville. He was the toast of Broadway for a decade in the Ziegfeld Follies. His wry on-stage observations remain applicable today. Will Rogers became a major syndicated newspaper columnist; author of six books; star of 71 motion pictures, and America's premier radio commentator.
• Designed by John Duncan Forsythe
• Financed by a $200,000 appropriation by the Oklahoma Legislature
• Ground broken on April 21, 1938, when Sallie Rogers McSpadden, Will Rogers’ sister, turned the ceremonial first spade of earth
• Dedicated on November 4, 1938, Will Rogers’ 59th birthday
• Original 15,000-square-foot, fossilized native limestone edifice enlarged in 1983 with a new addition of 11,000 square feet
Overlooking the scenic expanse of the Tiawah Valley, the twenty acres comprising the museum grounds were purchased by Will and Betty Rogers in 1911 for $500 an acre. Betty donated the land to the State of Oklahoma in 1937.
Twelve galleries of priceless artifacts and art tell the enduring story of the life and legacy of Will Rogers, one of the most influential and best known figures in the first half of the twentieth century. Visitors can view daily in the museum’s theaters one of his twenty-one feature-length motion pictures or a documentary of his life. His diverse career in entertainment and communication, his humor and humanity, and his passion for both aviation and roping come vividly to life through numerous video and audio displays. The Children’s Museum in the lower level features unique, interactive exhibits and educational activities.
"NEVER MET A MAN I DIDN'T LIKE"
The most photographed, and perhaps most touched, icon in Rogers County, this heroic-sized statue by Rogers family friend, Jo Davidson, was cast twice, one copy going to the Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the other positioned in the rotunda of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore in 1938.
ROGERS FAMILY TOMB
The bodies of Will Rogers, 1879-1935, and his wife, Betty, 1879-1944, are interred in the crypt, along with three of their four children, Fred Stone Rogers, 1918-1920, Mary Amelia Rogers Brooks, 1913-1989, and James Blake (Jim) Rogers, 1915-2000, and Jim's wife, Marguerite Astrea Kemmler Rogers, 1917-1987 as well as Jim's oldest son, James Kemmler (Kem) Rogers, 1939-2014.
LIBRARY AND OFFICES
The 2,400-square-foot library and offices in the new wing of the Will Rogers Memorial provide research space for scholars and writers. Included in the library are more than 2,000 volumes by, about, or referencing Will Rogers, in addition to texts on Indians, genealogy, vaudeville, early motion pictures and the history of the 1879-1935 era.
The archives include some 18,000 photographs, thousands of original manuscripts, private letters, contracts and personal papers, motion pictures, home movies and audio tapes.
Will Rogers Memorial Museums
1720 West Will Rogers Boulevard
Claremore, Oklahoma 74017
"What all of us know put together don’t mean anything. Nothing don’t mean anything. We are here for a spell and pass on. Anyone who thinks that civilization has advanced is an egotist."