— Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch —
At the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, guided tours highlight the fact that humorist and philosopher Will Rogers was more than a cowboy. Rogers was the top male motion-picture box-office star for three years running in the mid-1930s and an Aviation Hall of Fame and International Polo Hall of Fame member.
Most notably, by 1935, he had become America’s most widely read syndicated newspaper columnist. His wit and wisdom were printed in more than 4,000 daily and weekly newspaper columns, plus he wrote dozens of articles for national magazines and numerous books.
“I call him the first blogger because Rogers sent his daily column to the New York Times by Western Union, and what he wrote about one day was published the next,” said Steve Gragert, museum director. “One of every three Americans had access to his writings. No one in his day or our day had the reach that Rogers did or was as popular in all media.”
Rogers’ wit and wisdom shines throughout the museum. His voice can be heard on radio replays from when he anchored America’s first coast-to-coast radio hookup in 1928.
Displays at the museum showcase Rogers’ saddle and art collection, movie posters and memorabilia. There’s also a replica of his Santa Monica ranch study and 13 miniature vignettes that chronicle his life. A new exhibit to open in late summer will be dedicated to his time spent in Alaska before the plane crash in Alaska Territory that took his life at age 55.