Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Reopens Oct 27

Uploaded by AMNHorg on 07.09.2012

Although Theodore Roosevelt was not literally born at the American
Museum of Natural History, it was an integral part of his upbringing. His
father was one of our founding trustees in 1869 and the young
Roosevelt not only spent time in our exhibits
but he walked through the halls
and went upstairs to the labs, to the collections, and got to know some of the
curatorial staff. There was never a day in his life that in some way or another he
wasn't corresponding or
talking with somebody or thinking up a new project for this museum.
When you write like i do conservation history
you're seeing the fireworks go off when Theodore Roosevelt hooks up with the American
Museum of Natural History and they really partner together on creating a
of natural preservation.
T.R. came into office in 1901, aware of the fact that we
in the United States had already lost
fifty percent of our forest cover
that our rivers were choked and dying
that uh... our waters were polluted and this afflicted him with a deep, inner
which manifested itself during his presidency with
a raft of executive orders and legislation
to create wildlife refuges, national forests, national monuments
to such an extent that by the time he left office he had significantly
an enormous swath of American country
He felt that in wilderness was the preservation
of the American soul
and that it's what we could do different than the Europeans.
They had their Louvre and Westminster Abbey, but in America for Theodore Roosevelt,
we had the Tetons,
we had the Mojave Desert, and the Grand Canyon.
And that he saw these as heirlooms to be passed on
to future generations and thought that with no wilderness he felt we would become
a mercantile capitalist country
that lost our romantic heart
and our true frontier soul. Theodore Roosevelt's greatest legacy as president
is conservation.
His program was comprehensive, it was farsighted
and just as important he set the bar in conservation so
presidents ever since
have had to measure themselves against Theodore Roosevelt.
And we're now at a point where it would be unthinkable for a president not to have an
environmental agenda.
And we owe that to Theodore Roosevelt.
The importance of what I think the Museum is trying to do
with the Theodore Roosevelt Hall
is to take
part of American History
and make it more accessible.
Sometimes people ask me what it's like being a descendant of Theodore Roosevelt.
That's not the right question.
All Americans are descendants of Theodore Roosevelt. He's part of all Americans. He's not part
of one family.
He's an American tradition. He's an American leader.
Can we accept
and carry on his vision
and bring it to the next level?