For the Comedian: Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Oklahoma | Reader's Digest

For the Comedian: Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Oklahoma

from Off the Beaten Path | 318
Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Oklahoma© 2009 Will Rogers Memorial MuseumThis storehouse of photos, manuscripts, and other memorabilia was built on land where Rogers planned to spend his retirement.

1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore, Oklahoma

“I never met a man I didn’t like” is the saying usually associated with humorist and philosopher Will Rogers. Born in 1879, the man of Cherokee descent once remarked, “My forefathers didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.” Rogers had a remarkably varied and successful career. He was a trick roper, Ziegfeld Follies and vaudeville performer, and radio commentator. His witty, homespun remarks were published daily in 500 newspapers.

Rogers’s movie career ultimately catapulted him to fame. The archives and nine galleries in this museum contain 15,000 photographs and 2,000 books about this man of the West and the world, whose spirit still permeates this part of northeastern Oklahoma. There are manuscripts, motion pictures, home movies, and a saddle collection. A sunken garden frames the Rogers family tomb. The museum is built on 20 acres Rogers had purchased in 1911 for his hoped-for retirement, but in 1935 he was killed in a plane crash with a fellow Oklahoman, pilot Wiley Post, over the Alaskan territory.

To get to Rogers’s birthplace, take Rte. 88 out of Claremore to Dog Iron Ranch in Oologah, where newsreels run about Rogers’s life and times.

Open year-round. Donations accepted.

www.willrogers.com

(800) 324-9455