Will Rogers Memorial Museum installs new HVAC unit to help preserve collection


From left to right: Steve Gragert, executive director Will Rogers Memorial Museum; Jim Halsey, Will Rogers Memorial Foundation; Janees Taylor, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council; Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation; Phil Albert, Will Rogers Memorial Museum Commission; and Dr. Richard Mosier, president of the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation.

CLAREMORE, Okla. – It has been nearly 80 years since Will Rogers died, but his legacy lives on at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore.

To ensure his legendary story can be thoroughly shared with future generations, the Cherokee Nation has partnered with the museum to fund a new HVAC system, creating a stable environment for the preservation of the Cherokee Kid’s collection.

Cherokee Nation officials sponsored the installation of the $15,000 system that was recently installed.

“We are teaming with the Will Rogers Memorial Museum to help protect the personal items of Will Rogers, probably the most famous Cherokee citizen ever. This investment will continue our mission to preserve Cherokee heritage and history,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “We hope this will make patrons more likely to stay longer and enjoy the museum’s offerings in a fuller and more satisfying way.

“More importantly, however, the new heating and cooling system will keep invaluable artifacts of the Will Rogers collection preserved in a climate-controlled environment.”

An added benefit to the new system is warm or cool air will be felt by guests as soon as they enter the admissions area.

In recent years, Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses have contributed nearly $200,000 to the museum. These funds have made possible major repairs and upgrades at the museum and Rogers’ birthplace in Oologah.

One of the most significant upgrades was in the Memorial’s Heritage Gallery that is dedicated to Rogers’ heritage, including his Cherokee ancestors who came from Alabama. There are also exhibit cases displaying items on loan from the Cherokee Heritage Center.

“The Cherokee Nation has given generously to fund programs and projects at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch,” said Steve Gragert, Will Rogers Memorial Museum executive director. “We value highly our partnership with the Nation, and we look forward to a continued strong relationship to sustain and share Will’s legacy.”

For more information about Rogers and the Will Rogers Memorial Museums, including museum hours and admission, visit

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