Buffalo

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

Last week Paul and I toured the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. It’s just over a mile from our place so we walked there and back.

Thanks to a discount ticket I received in my TEDxBuffalo gift bag, the two of us got in for the price of one admission (tickets are normally $10 apiece).

This is the outside of the Roosevelt inaugural site:

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For those who aren’t aware of the history, Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as President after William McKinley was assassinated in 1901 (McKinley was in Buffalo for the Pan-American Exposition). The site has several relics from the Exposition on display:

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There are also a number of exhibits to peruse in the front room while you wait for the tour to begin.

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Our guide was Tim, a knowledgable fellow with a habit of shutting his eyes as he spoke. We had five people in our group.

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After watching a short film, the first historic room we saw was the dining room. Teddy Roosevelt ate lunch here before he was inaugurated.

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From there we were ushered into a room with a bench to watch an 11-minute presentation. It covered topics such as race relations, child labor, and the might of industrial giants — basically, what the climate in the U.S. was like in 1901. It wasn’t an actual video so I was curious if the images would keep us entertained for so long, but it was interesting and well done. Various images on the long screen would light up when they talked about a particular subject.

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This is the room where Roosevelt was inaugurated (in the space where that small round table now stands). At 42 years old, he is still the youngest man to ever be sworn in as President.

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This is another corner of the inaugural room. (Fun fact: this building was used as a restaurant from the late 1930s through early 1960s.)

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Roosevelt sat at this desk to write the first proclamation of his presidency.

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On the second floor, there are more exhibits, such as this one where I learned that Teddy Roosevelt was the one who gave The White House its name.

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There’s also a room modeled after the Oval Office (the West Wing was added to the White House in 1902, the year after Roosevelt’s inauguration). In the room is an interactive globe. You could touch various flags on the surface and the display will tell you how Roosevelt affected that part of the world during his presidency.

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And let’s not forget the desk! This is Paul looking oh-so-Presidential.

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The desk is the coolest exhibit. When you sit behind it, a camera on the opposite wall will take your picture and email it to you.

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This is what my photo looked like:

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The last room has a full-length cardboard version of Roosevelt, along with a sign that is easier to read if you look in the mirror on the opposite wall.

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I took a photo in the mirror.

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The tour exceeded my expectations. I knew the site had a mix of modern interactive exhibits along with the historic space on the ground floor, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I would definitely recommend this location as an interesting place to visit.

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