• A 1901 sketch of Theodore Roosevelt taking the oath of office in Buffalo, NY.

    Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural

    National Historic Site New York

Museum Tour

On September 14th, 1901, an anxious Theodore Roosevelt stood in the library of a friend's home in Buffalo, NY. Hours earlier, President William McKinley had died of an assassin's bullet, and now Roosevelt stood ready to rise to the highest office in the land. Roosevelt had been in the vice-presidency for barely six months and had privately feared that his political career was ended with his election to a largely powerless office. Yet at 3:32 pm of September 14th, Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 26th President of the United States as a consequence of unforeseen tragedy.

Roosevelt's administration would expand the role of the United States in world affairs, change the relationship between the American government and its citizens, and alter the shape of the presidency itself. The tour focuses on the circumstances of Theodore Roosevelt's presidential inauguration in Buffalo in 1901, the cultural and political climate of the time, and the significance of the inauguration for Western New York, the United States and the world.

New exhibits installed in 2009 supplement a new tour, taking visitors back to 1901, where they are invited to visit the Wilcox home on the day of Theodore Roosevelt's inauguration.

Topics addressed will include the Pan-American Exposition, the assassination of President William McKinley, and the subsequent inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt in the Wilcox home in Buffalo in 1901. The tour will also discuss challenges facing America in TR's time, such as:

  • abuses of big business vs. the beginnings of organized labor
  • desperate urban poverty, which was steadily increasing due to massive waves of immigration
  • the plight of African-Americans and others who were excluded from the American dream
  • questions of conservation of natural resources vs. exploitation for economic development
  • America's growing importance on the international stage

Concluding exhibits explore how TR's presidency sought to address these challenges, and the degree to which these issues remain unsolved for Americans today.

The inaugural site marks a unique intersection of local and national history, which still stands as a major turning point in our nation's history.

A tour of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site takes approximately one to one 1/2 hours, depending upon group size. This includes several audio presentations, a guided tour, and interactive exhibits. We will divide your class into groups of about 10 - 15 students per guide. Please be sure there is an adult chaperone for each group.

Recommended for grades 6 and up. (For grades 4-5, see Reporting History. For grade 2-3 see Teddy and Me. For grade K-1 see The Bear Facts.) Program length: 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Fee - $3.00 for organized school groups. All group tours are by reservation only. Reservations must be made at lease two weeks in advance.

We recommend one chaperone for each 10 students.

Did You Know?

Theodore Roosevelt receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He received it for his contribution to negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo-Japanese War.