On July 27, I visited Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of the six parks dedicated (at least in part) to Theodore Roosevelt. He is, of course, one of the 4 presidents memorialized in stone on the mountain. But I did not peruse the Mount Rushmore collections; the TR Center scanned those several years ago. Mount Rushmore serves as the repository for the archival collections of Devils Tower National Monument and Jewel Cave National Monument. As most of you know, Devils Tower in Wyoming was the first national monument proclaimed by Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act in 1906. Jewel Cave in South Dakota was proclaimed in 1908.
Because many parks do not have adequate museum storage facilities or a dedicated curator, collections from several parks are often stored at central offices or multi-park repositories. Consolidation can ensure that the collections have the proper space and environmental controls, and they can often be tended by one curator.
Zane Martin, the Curator at Mount Rushmore, assisted me in finding the items related to TR in the Jewel Cave and Devils Tower collections. We found some gems, including one of the “original” printed proclamations for Jewel Cave. Although it was not the signed original, it was certainly a copy printed at the time the park was established. Devils Tower collections included some fun documents from the “Theodore Roosevelt Centennial Celebration” held at the monument in 1958, and a copy of Time Magazine featuring Theodore Roosevelt from that same year.
It is good that the collections from Devils Tower and Jewel Cave are secure in the vaults of Mount Rushmore, but I regretted not spending time at the two monuments. I will find another excuse to visit them before the snow flies. There is always a good reason to visit national parks.
View of George Washington from Mt. Rushmore