Who We Are

Our vision:

We connect people to historic Medora for positive, life-changing experiences.

Our mission:

PRESERVE the experience of the Badlands, the historic character of Medora, and the values and heritage of Theodore Roosevelt and Harold Schafer;

PRESENT opportunities for our guests to be educated and inspired through interpretive programs, museums, and attractions that focus on the Old West, our patriotic heritage, and the life of Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands;

SERVE the traveling public, providing for their comfort while visiting historic Medora, the Badlands, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Our values:

Have fun.

Show respect for people and place.

Live life with an ownership mindset.

Always be grateful.

Promote sales.

Our focus:

Today, we at TRMF strive to accomplish our mission to preserve, present, and serve in Medora by operating history, education, entertainment businesses that allow guests to fully enjoy the North Dakota Badlands.


See all the travel experiences you can take in at Medora.com.



Since 2018, we’ve honored people with extraordinary dedication to the vision of TRMF with the Bully Spirit Award.

The Bully Spirit Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation to an individual or couple who have committed extraordinary effort and dedication to fulfill and advance the mission and vision of the foundation: to connect people to Medora for positive, life-changing experiences.


Bully Spirit Award recipients will be known for their extraordinary efforts to share the history of Medora, Harold Schafer, and Theodore Roosevelt, their impact through volunteerism, their generosity, their care for the landscape, their optimism which fuels action and achievement, and their extraordinary, positive impact on the greater world in which they live.


Watch this video to learn more about the Bully Spirit Award.

Presenting the 2023 Bully Spirit Award recipients: CHAR & DUEY MARTHALLER.

“Grandma, I wonder what Medora’s going to be like when I bring my kids here.”


Those words from their young granddaughter reaffirmed the years of passion and hard work that Char and Duey Marthaller have given to Medora. The quiet, humble pair of volunteers have taken on countless projects that have improved or added to the charm of Medora. And their “why” is simple: so that future generations will make wonderful memories here the way they have.


Spend five minutes watching this video to learn more about Duey and Char Marthaller, and see exactly how great of an impact they’ve had on Medora.

Our History

For over 50 years, we’ve believed Medora is a special place. It’s our mission to preserve this place for generations and to connect people to Medora for positive, life-changing experiences.

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is a public non-profit organization that was formed in 1986 by a multi-million dollar gift from Harold Schafer and his family—most famously known as the founders of the Gold Seal Company, the maker of Mr. Bubble, Glass Wax, and other nationally-known household products.


For Harold, the beauty and history of Medora and the Badlands was just too much to let disappear with the sands of time—so he made it his life’s work to save it for generations to come.


He began his labor of love in 1962, while running the Gold Seal Company, when he revitalized the Rough Riders Hotel—which at that time was almost completely dilapidated, and whose previous owners had won the property in a card game! At that moment, Harold created the Medora Division of the Gold Seal Company.

harold rr
“My obligation today is to see that Medora’s greatness can be carried on after my lifetime, that its future can be even better than the past.” — Harold Schafer, 1988

Harold later acquired an old, run-down theater on the side of a bluff that was built for a 1958 showing of a Theodore Roosevelt play called Old Four Eyes.


Over the winter Harold contacted a producer in Minneapolis about creating a family-friendly show that included something for the kids, a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, and a BIG patriotic ending. On July 1, 1965, Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again: a Medora Musical debuted in a theater with a walking path entry, dirt-path isles, and wooden-plank benches.


Today, over 50 years later, it’s known around the world as simply the Medora Musical—and while the show and venue has evolved over time, it still includes the three original themes Harold wanted in that very first show.


This was the beginning of TRMF—before it was TRMF actually—and it shapes who we are as an organization and why we do what we do each day, still in the 21st century.


Harold’s legendary work ethic and excitement kept him going when TRMF was created in 1986. He kept giving to Medora and the people who visited until his death in 2001.


Harold’s wife Sheila, who was there cleaning bathrooms and doing anything else that needed doing back in 1965, was an integral part of making Medora and TRMF what it is today. She was the heart of the town, the unofficial “First Lady of Medora,” until she joined her beloved Harold in 2016.

“Well, since I own a theater now, I might as well put on a show!” —Harold Schafer, 1965


We believe, like Harold and Theodore Roosevelt before us, that Medora is worth preserving for our children, and children’s children. 


If that resonates with you, we’d love for you to join us on our mission.

We look to them


Many, many improvements have been accomplished since that first Rough Riders Hotel Project in 1962. While there’s even more on the horizon for TRMF, we take guidance from the past, and what has been accomplished by the those “giants” of Medora’s history.