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Theodore Roosevelt Tour of the Museum: TR and Endangered Species

On Exhibit posts

The restored Theodore Roosevelt Memorial is now open, and a new self-guided tour—available as part of the Museum's Explorer app, or on our website—highlights exhibits around the Museum with a connection to TR, who was President from 1901 to 1909. In this post, the fourth in a series, we explore one of the tour's stops: the endangered species case in the Hall of Biodiversity.

Endangered Species

As a private citizen and a public official, Theodore Roosevelt made substantial contributions to  the preservation of species, from setting aside lands for the dwindling bison to creating the first national bird refuge to protect birds like the brown pelican and great blue heron.

In a letter to Museum ornithologist Frank Chapman in 1899, he wrote, “When I hear of the destruction of a species I feel just as if all the works of some great writer had perished.”

Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered.

Caroline Rogers, USGS


Roosevelt’s legacy continues to grow because of legislation passed during his administration. In 2008, then-President George W. Bush used the Act for the Preservation of Antiquities, first signed into law by Roosevelt on June 8, 1906, to declare three marine national monuments in the Pacific, covering an area the size of California. One of them encompasses the Palmyra Atoll where a consortium led by the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is monitoring the health of the reef ecosystem and its wildlife, including the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), which can be seen in the Museum's case of endangered species.

Download the self-guided tour as part of the Museum's Explorer app, or on our website.

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American Museum of Natural History

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