The Will Rogers Memorial Museum sits on top of a hill overlooking Claremore, Oklahoma. The Museum depicts the life of Will Rogers from birth to his untimely death. He was born November 4, 1879 in Indian Territory (present-day Oologah). Although born in Oologah, Will Rogers often referred to Claremore as his home. Little did he know, he would eventually become known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son” for his humor and great success. In his younger years, Rogers showed how proud he was of his Indian heritage, often referring to himself as an Indian-Cowboy. He began to master roping tricks, which eventually led him to be center-stage in vaudeville acts. There, he would stun the crowd not only with his tricks, but his sense of humor as well. His likeable personality eventually landed him in the Ziegfeld Follies.
As his career grew, Rogers became a newspaperman. People loved reading what he had to say! After that, he went on to becoming a radio pundit, a philosopher and eventually, a movie star. He was successful in everything he did, letting his humor win over crowds and help make the best out of difficult times. Like his other adventures, Rogers was a natural in the movie making business. As the Will Rogers Memorial Museum states, “In just five years, Will starred in twenty-one acclaimed motion pictures, winning top box office honors in 1934 and becoming Hollywood’s highest-paid actor.” What was even better was how even though his fame continued to grow, he was ultimately a husband and father. His family was everything to him and he was proud to be able to give them the life they had.
The Museum does a fantastic job in showing room-by-room the timeline of Will Rogers’ life. Not only do they show his Cherokee roots, the Museum goes further by showing the visitor how Rogers’ family came to Indian Territory in the first place. The Museum shows pictures of Rogers in each stage of his career, whether it was as a lassoer or a movie star. It was also valuable that in multiple rooms, videos would often be playing explaining how each of his careers left a lasting impact on his life, or even the valuable lessons he was teaching his children. One can imagine the life that Rogers had as they listened to the films and stared at the beautiful paintings and pictures. This museum is a perfect place for anyone that is interested in Will Rogers and what made him the man he was. Whether you’re an expert on his life or not, the Museum has so much to offer and excite visitors of all ages once they step into the door.