- This event has passed.
Clem Rogers and the Legacy of the Rogers Ranch exhibit opens
On Thursday, June 1, the exhibit Clem Rogers and the Legacy of the Rogers Ranch opened at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore.
In the shadow of the iconic statue of Will Rogers in the Will Rogers Memorial Museum’s rotunda is a new exhibit telling the story of his father, Clem Rogers, and the Rogers Ranch. Founded in the 1800s, it is where Clem returned with his family in 1870 after the Civil War and lived until moving to Claremore after his wife, Mary, died in 1890.
It is augmented by panels of Rogers’s family history from when they were driven from their native home in Alabama to when they settled on the ranch Clem Rogers established in the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation.
It is where he lived and worked as a rancher and businessman and served five terms in the Cherokee Nation Senate while raising his family. “This is the house that built Will Rogers,” said Trait Thompson, Oklahoma Historical Society executive director, at the recent signing of the ranch to ownership of the Cherokee Nation.
An Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) $50,000 grant made the three-dimensional immersion exhibit, complete with burning fire, possible, according to Jennifer Holt, Museum curator. The history-making exhibit contains never-before-seen images of the birthplace ranch in its original location, now under the waters of Oologah Lake. “We would never have been able to do this without the grant and support of ATALM,” said Holt.
Today, the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch is located where it was moved after the lake waters covered the original home-place spot. It is now under the ownership of the Cherokee Nation and remains open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until mid-November when it will close for renovation.