Thursday, January 29, 2015

Will Roger's Memorial Museum - OK Route 66

Our second main stop on the Route 66 roadtrip we took to visit the sites between Arcadia and Claremore Oklahoma included the Will Roger's Memorial Museum.

Let me just say, there's a backstory.

Stained glass windows on the exterior of the Will Roger's Memorial Museum depicting Roger's many identities.

Here's a little on the background of this stop.  I'm a little behind when it comes to knowing celebrities, popular movies, popular culture, and in general cultural things that most people assume that everyone knows about.  

Up until December, I'd never seen Star Wars.  It was in college when I first saw any of the Lord of the Rings movies.  Until recently, I'd never seen Gone With the Wind.  I've still never seen but a few episodes of Friends, and have still not seen Greece, the Sound of Music, and probably other classics that people usually gasp about when they hear.

Okay, let's get the shock and awe over with.  Take a gasp, scorn me in your mind.  
Now let's move on.


Although I'd never seen Star Wars until recently, I've known for years that Darth Vader is Luke's Father.  I knew that Yoda used weird sentences, and was a wise little old...thing.  Culturally, I can pick up on these things, but when it boils down to it I just simply haven't seen all the big movies or know the big names.

If you were wondering, yes, I get made fun of and frowned upon quite often for this.

So a few months prior to visiting, Tyler and I had a discussion about Will Rogers.  I mean, here in Oklahoma we have all kinds of streets, buildings, parks, schools, the largest room in my alma mater's student union, and the largest airport in Oklahoma - all named in honor of Will Rogers.

Culturally, I knew he was important to Oklahoma - obviously since his name is everywhere - but I really didn't know who he was or what he did.  I honestly figured he was one of the oilmen from the old days who must have donated to all these places.

That is why Tyler insisted that we visit the museum - to "educate" me on my own culture and history.

I'll admit, maybe I should have known more about Will Rogers, but it wasn't in my Oklahoma history class, and no one ever bothered to tell me, and I simply never bothered to find out.  

We spent several hours going through the museum.  I now have a good grasp with who Will Roger's was, and why Oklahoma takes so much pride in him.  He was a good old southern cowboy, who retained family values, was famous and in films, a world traveler, and also very involved in the nations politics.

I didn't bring my camera into the museum (although it turns out I could have), so I didn't take pictures inside.  However one of my favorite parts as a nerdy Asian Studies major was a saddle Will obtained in Mongolia with traditional ornamentation.  So unique to see the differences in saddles across the world.

Tyler had a look of satisfaction that he had finally educated me on important Oklahoma history where I was still lacking.

When was the last time you learned something new about your country, state, or hometown?
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