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Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Logo.jpg
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is located in North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is located in the United States
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library
General information
LocationMedora, North Dakota, United States
Coordinates46°54′58″N 103°33′08″W / 46.91611°N 103.55222°W / 46.91611; -103.55222 (Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Medora, North Dakota))Coordinates: 46°54′58″N 103°33′08″W / 46.91611°N 103.55222°W / 46.91611; -103.55222 (Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Medora, North Dakota))
Named forTheodore Roosevelt
Construction startedprojected 2022
Completedprojected 2025
Design and construction

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be a museum and facility for the records of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. It is to be constructed at a site to the west of Medora, North Dakota, near Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which preserves sites associated with Roosevelt's sojourn in North Dakota between 1883 and 1887. The project is in planning stages. A site in the Badlands of Medora was selected in 2020, as well as the design architect Snøhetta and the architect of record JLG Architects.


A 93-acre (38 ha) site was selected in March 2020 from eleven candidates on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of Medora, near the Burning Hills Amphitheater, and close to the Medora entrance to the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The site includes a section of the Maah Daah Hey Trail, and includes grassland and Badland terrain.[1][2][3] Congress passed legislation to allow and direct the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to sell the land, which was owned by the U.S. Forest Service up to this point. The site is on top of a butte near the amphitheater used for the Medora Musical.[4]

An initial field of forty architectural firms was narrowed to fourteen firms, which were all invited to compete to serve as the Design Architect for the library. Twelve firms participated and after a series of interviews & presentations, the Foundation announced three finalists: Snøhetta, Studio Gang, and Henning Larsen.[5][6] These three firms were provided stipends to develop design concepts. Snøhetta–known for its projects including the National September 11 Museum, Oslo Opera House, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina, among others–was selected in September 2020 to design the library.[7][8][9]

Location selection

The Library is being built in North Dakota due in large part to both local and regional enthusiasm for the project, and Theodore Roosevelt's personal connections to the state.

Theodore Roosevelt first came to the North Dakota badlands on September 8, 1883. Roosevelt arrived with the intent to hunt buffalo, but he subsequently formed a deeper connection with the land–so much so that he invested in two ranches in the area: the Maltese Cross and the Elkhorn. Roosevelt would return after the tragic deaths of both his wife, Alice, and mother, Mittie, on Valentine's Day in 1884. He sought refuge, healing, and strength in the landscape–Roosevelt famously said the region is where the "romance of my life began."[10]

Roosevelt would view his time in North Dakota fondly. He once said that if he was ever forced to retain just one memory from his life, he "would take the memory of my life on the ranch, with its experiences close to Nature and among the men who lived nearest her."[11] Moreover, Roosevelt would credit his time in the region as being formative to understanding not only himself, but the lives of others, famously declaring that he "never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota."[12]

In 2019 the North Dakota Legislative Assembly authorized a $50 million operating endowment for the proposed library, to be made available after the foundation raised $100 million for construction; the Foundation has since reached this milestone, unlocking the $50 million.[1][13][14]

Board, staff, and supporters

Linda Pancratz, CEO and Chairwoman of Mountain Capital, is Chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation Board of Trustees.

Former media executive and Roosevelt scholar Edward O'Keefe is the CEO.[15]

Governor Doug Burgum supports the effort, citing the state's "opportunity to build a presidential library in honor of one of the most dynamic, influential, and world-changing presidents in the history of the US,” alongside the library's potential impacts on economic, academic, and tourism development within the state.[16][17] Theodore Roosevelt V, President Roosevelt's great-great grandson, has also played a prominent role advocating for the library within the state.[18] The Roosevelt family has committed to purchase the land the library will be on.[19]


In January 2022, the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which stood outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York City facing Central Park West, and was removed and will be on a long-term loan to the Library.[20] The Library has yet to determine how and where the statue will be displayed on the grounds.[21] The statue has generated controversy due to its subordinate depiction of African and Native American figures behind Roosevelt.[22]


  1. ^ a b Dura, Jack (March 31, 2020). "U.S. Forest Service land eyed for Theodore Roosevelt presidential library". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Distributed Site Planning" (PDF). Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. March 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  3. ^ Turley, Jeremy (March 31, 2020). "Board picks site near Medora for proposed Roosevelt library". Inforum. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  4. ^ Dec 23rd 2020 - 12pm, Jeremy Turley |. "Congress paves way for Roosevelt library to buy land in western North Dakota". The Dickinson Press. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  5. ^ Apr 27th 2020 - 6am, Jeremy Turley |. "Roosevelt library group considering 12 architecture firms for project". INFORUM. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  6. ^ "Snøhetta and Studio Gang compete to design Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library". Dezeen. 2020-05-20. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  7. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation Selects Snøhetta for Design Architect Commission of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota" (PDF). Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  8. ^ Mafi, Nick. "The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Will Be Designed by Snøhetta". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  9. ^ "The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Will Be a Stunning Tribute to Nature in North Dakota". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  10. ^ "TR Center - Theodore Roosevelt in North Dakota". www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  11. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt". HistoryNet. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  12. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt National Park--Presidents: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  13. ^ "Burgum signs bill, thanks legislators for creating endowment for Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum". State of North Dakota. April 26, 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  14. ^ Oct 27th 2020 - 7pm, Jeremy Turley |. "Roosevelt library group reaches $100M fundraising goal behind Walton, Burgum donations". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  15. ^ Oct 19th 2019 - 11am, Adam Kurtz |. "'It was providential': Grand Forks native in first weeks as CEO of Roosevelt Library project". Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  16. ^ DURA, JACK. "Gov. Burgum emphasizes vision in push for Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  17. ^ "Gov. Burgum Testifies in Favor of Presidential Library Funding". KX NEWS. 2019-01-09. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  18. ^ Tribune, JACK DURA Bismarck. "Theodore Roosevelt V sees fitting placement of presidential library in North Dakota Badlands". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  19. ^ DURA, JACK. "Congress passes land sale provision for Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library". Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  20. ^ Suliman, Adela (2022-01-20). "Theodore Roosevelt statue removed from outside New York's Museum of Natural History". MSN. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  21. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt statue in NYC covered ahead of move to North Dakota museum". Dec 6, 2021.
  22. ^ "Family member of Theodore Roosevelt weighs in on statue removal: 'I think it gives the wrong message'". June 22, 2020.