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More Concerning The New TR museum - Cleaned Up Article

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  • Keith Simon
    Thanks to Gary Papush for this article from the New York Sun: [The New York Sun] July 31, 2007 edition Roosevelt Group Plans New
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2007

      Thanks to Gary Papush for this article from the New York Sun:

      The New York Sun



      July 31, 2007 edition







      Roosevelt Group Plans New Museum

      Staff Reporter of the Sun
      July 31, 2007

      It's nice to be on Mount Rushmore, but what Theodore Roosevelt really needs, according to devotees, is a state-of-the-art museum and study center.

      Leading contenders for a proposed museum dedicated to the nation's 26th president are Oyster Bay, Long Island; Washington, D.C.; and Cambridge, Mass. Fundraising is under way for the planned $50 million facility, a former president of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Norman Parsons, said, and a $250,000 pledge has already been made.

      "One of the great surprises is that something like this does not already exist," Mr. Parsons said. "T.R.," a conservationist Republican who served as New York City's police chief, New York State's youngest-ever assemblyman, governor, assistant secretary of the Navy, organizer and lieutenant-colonel of the "Rough Riders" cavalry regiment during the Spanish-American War, and William McKinley's vice president before becoming the youngest-ever resident of the White House in 1901, routinely ranks among the top five greatest presidents in polls of historians. A history professor at Boston University, William Tilchin, said both Roosevelt's domestic and foreign policy were "foresighted."

      Mr. Parsons said the association's new president, James Bruns, who was formerly executive director of the Atlanta History Center, initiated the idea for the museum. Senator Schumer has written a letter strongly supporting the choice of Oyster Bay Â-- where Roosevelt's home, Sagamore Hill, is already a national historic site Â-- as the museum's location, and saying he would do everything he could at the federal level to make it happen, Newsday.com reported last week.

      But both Washington, where Roosevelt lived as civil service commissioner in 1889Â-95 and as vice president and president in 1901Â-09, and Cambridge, where he attended college and where the largest Theodore Roosevelt manuscript collection outside the Library of Congress resides, are strong candidates.

      Still, as the town supervisor of Oyster Bay, John Venditto, told The New York Sun, while the Potomac and the Charles rivers are lovely, Oyster Bay was where Roosevelt liked to put his feet up. The president spent summers there as a youth, built Sagamore Hill there, and used it as the "Summer White House" during his presidency.

      "The connection to him is greater here," Mr. Venditto said, adding that the general community response to the proposal has been positive. One location under consideration is next to the Oyster Bay railroad station.

      The first thing a visitor might see upon entering the museum is an interactive map tracking public lands acquired during American presidencies, Mr. Parsons said. When you got to Roosevelt, he said, the map would change dramatically: T.R. set aside more than 234 million acres of public land for wildlife refuges, forests, and national parks. "The acreage is astounding," he said.

      A great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and private investment banker who is chairman of the site selection committee, Tweed Roosevelt, said the city or town chosen for the museum would affect its composition. If it were Cambridge, where Harvard has 27,000 personal papers, it may be more of a library, he said. Wherever it was situated, Mr. Roosevelt said the museum would have an academic component and space for public events. It is of primary importance, Mr. Roosevelt said, that the museum be a site that the public goes to and visits. He pointed to the popularity of the new museum devoted to President Lincoln in Springfield, Ill.

      Mr. Roosevelt said Washington also had advantages, such as ample tourism. According to the Washington, D.C., Convention and Tourism Corporation, the district had 17.7 million domestic visitors in 2004. But, he noted, a Theodore Roosevelt museum and center might get lost among all the other attractions there, unless it had a good location.

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