On August 1, 2012, the Roy Rogers Memories Museum opened in Portsmouth, Ohio. Tucked into the upstairs area of a fun antiques market in the Boneyfiddle District you’ll find treats that will bring back warm memories. This collection is packed with objects from the “King of the Cowboys” life and compiles memories from his childhood in Portsmouth. Born as Leonard Slye in 1911 in Cincinnati, Rogers considered Portsmouth his home town and frequently visited until he passed in 1998. Paintings, costumes, props and even Roy’s cowboy hat and boots are on display. Items he endorsed (such as lunchboxes) are also on view and it’s easy to imagine (or remember) having one of these pieces in your own home.
Many people visit Portsmouth annually for the Roy Rogers Festival (in its 30th year) where his life and film legacy are celebrated. Generations are familiar with his films including: Under Western Stars (1938) and My Pal Trigger (1946) as well as his work in television. Often, he appeared alongside his wife, Dale Evans. Both Roy and Dale loved children and felt education was important, in fact, Shawnee State College receives scholarship funds annually from the Roy Rogers Festival.
Under the guidance of the Portsmouth Area Community Exhibits (PACE) and the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Collectors Association (RR-DECA), the Festival remains a popular event.
With the opening of the Roy Rogers Memories Museum, the community is offered yet another chance to learn about the humble actor-singer who grew up on a modest farm on Duck Run and remained committed to Portsmouth and Scioto County. The collection makes a strong connection between Rogers and his local roots and effectively pays tribute to him while providing educational opportunities to all who visit.
The Museum is in its infancy and is the only remaining Roy Rogers collection on display in the United States. The Museum is completely volunteer-run and the staff is amazingly helpful and insightful. A small gift shop helps fund the project and while there is no admission fee, donations are gratefully welcomed.
The Museum is, indeed, a labor of love and an opportunity to continue to connect with the community as Mr. Rogers did.
Visit the Museum yourself at 526 Second Street (open Thursday-Sunday Noon-5 p.m.), Portsmouth, Ohio. The 30th Roy Rogers Festival will take place late in the summer, visit www.royrogersfestival.org for information to be posted.
Happy trails till we meet again.