Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall
Re-envisioned in 2012, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall features an exhibition charting Theodore Roosevelt’s journey from a budding naturalist exploring the Museum’s halls to an elected leader with a deep commitment to conservation.
At the center of the hall, a new bronze sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt, depicted as he looked during a famous 1903 camping trip to Yosemite with naturalist John Muir, invites visitors to sit next to TR and contemplate his pioneering role in conservation and the vital importance of protecting nature today. Near the sculpture, a new bronze medallion embedded in the floor depicts American bison grazing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands with the inscription “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country”— an excerpt from Roosevelt’s Confession of Faith speech delivered at the Progressive National Convention in Chicago on August 6, 1912.
The hall’s four exhibition areas feature never-before-displayed artifacts from the Museum’s collections and examine Roosevelt as the Young Naturalist with an early passion for nature; the Firsthand Observer whose experience as a rancher in the North Dakota Badlands impressed him with the threat of extinction to animals such as the American bison; the Conservation President who took unprecedented action and placed some 230 million acres under federal protection; and the Lifelong Explorer whose post-presidency expeditions took him to an arduous exploration of Brazil’s River of Doubt in 1914.
The hall features footage from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea as well as a touch-screen timeline that highlights important milestones in Roosevelt’s life and features photo galleries, archival footage, and video interviews with Roosevelt biographers, Musuem scientists, and other experts as well as a calendar of related Museum programs.
On Oct. 27, 1931, Roosevelt’s fifth cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Governor of New York, laid the cornerstone of the two-story Memorial.
This hall, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda above, and the Central Park West entrance opened in 1936 as New York State’s official memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, Governor of New York (1899-1901) and 26th President of the United States (1901–1909).
This depiction of Theodore Roosevelt as he looked during a 1903 trip to Yosemite with fellow naturalist John Muir is the starting point for an exploration of Roosevelt’s life.