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Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation takes steps toward building concept

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation takes steps toward building concept


Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation board members on Thursday took early steps toward possible design concepts for the future library and looked at architectural examples of museum-type buildings from around the world.

The meeting took place on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, Ariz.; the Tribune monitored via conference call.

Board members spent part of the morning looking at examples of museums from around the globe, including the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Grand Teton National Park near Jackson Hole, Wyo.

They gravitated toward building examples that incorporated the landscape into the design, citing Roosevelt's love of the Badlands landscape as a reason for his time in North Dakota ranching and hunting before moving on to the White House. One board member advocated for embracing that.

The board is considering sites in and near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota for the proposed library and museum. The board and the National Park Service have signed a memorandum of understanding signaling their interest and intentions to be partners as the library moves ahead.

The board also is working to raise $100 million to build the project. If it succeeds, it will be able to access a $50 million operations endowment funded by public money and approved by the 2019 Legislature. The foundation has not released how much money it has raised.

Large portions of Thursday's meeting were closed to reporters “due to some of the confidential nature and anonymity requests by some of the donors who are interested in this project,” board CEO Ed O’Keefe said.

Douglas Horne, founder of a real estate consulting firm with expertise in projects of natural, cultural or historic significance, presented the building examples and took note of board member's comments. Using their feedback, he hopes to have the broad strokes of the project’s concept set by Dec. 15.

The board afterward listened to a presentation by fellow trustee Steven Dow Beckham, a historian known for his work with the American West, who brought forth examples of libraries across the world, including other presidential libraries, to see what worked to draw visitors.

“We are going to do something momentous and that takes skill, that takes determination and that takes all of us working together as a team,” O'Keefe said.

Reach Bilal Suleiman at 701-250-8261 or


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