The Will Rogers Memorial Museums in Claremore, The Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch in Oolagah, and Will Rogers Gardens in Oklahoma City give you three places to discover the legacy of America’s favorite cowboy humorist, whose early years in Oklahoma helped him communicate to a wide audience, and make the world smile. No wonder President Franklin Delano Roosevelt arranged for Will Rogers to speak to the public before his “fireside chats.” Will Rogers knew how to make folks feel right at home.
The Will Rogers Memorial Museums in Claremore (population around 19,000) are tailor-made for tourists, families and school field trips. Not only do the Museums include an impressive array of Will Rogers’s saddles, art gifted by major Western artists, films and historical mementos, but the basement has a festive wonderland intended especially for children to play, just the way Will Rogers would have wanted. The basement is divided into distinctly decorated rooms, similar to American Girl Place, where students can imagine what it was like to live during Will Rogers’s lifetime and even take their picture with a life-size cut-out of the famous cowboy humorist.
About 20 minutes’ drive from the Will Rogers Memorial Museums is his birthplace in Oolagah (population around 1,200), where he lived his younger years. Visitors can tour the first floor to see the Rogers family lifestyle while listening to audio narration recorded by Will Rogers, Jr.
Adjacent to the house is a barn with barnyard animals, such as pygmy goats, mules and even a proud peacock. The house has a view of a peaceful lake and is surrounded by ranch lands with grazing horses and longhorn cattle.
Will Rogers Gardens is a little farther away in Oklahoma City, so you can either add it to the same day as the Museums and Birthplace or just make a day of visiting it and other fun things to do in Oklahoma City (population around 644,000). While in Oklahoma City, you might enjoy stopping by two other literary landmarks there. Click here for information: Angie Debo in Oklahoma City and Ralph Ellison in Oklahoma City
Try visiting www.willrogers.com online and then two or three locations in a day. Then watch his films. Make it a Will Rogers Marathon!
(Also see the California page for Will Rogers.)
The Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch is the fourth stop on our Oklahoma Trail, and the Will Rogers Memorial Museums in Claremore are the fifth!