Woodrow Wilson, 28th President – Photo Credit: Harris & Ewing
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is a great place to find out more about this early 20th century president. The Library and Museum are located in Staunton, VA, about 2.5 hours outside of Washington D.C. There are many great things to see and do at this museum – even with your children.
The Manse – Wilson’s Birthplace – Photo Credit
The library is housed within the home that Woodrow Wilson was born in – known as The Manse. The president’s father was a Presbyterian minister, and this was the minister’s home for that parish. Although the President was born there, they only lived there for approximately two years following his birth before they relocated to Georgia. After they left, the home went through several states of remodeling, and it wasn’t until the 1940’s that they began being restored to the way the house was in the 1850’s, the way the home was when the Wilson’s lived there. There has been a trend to restore historic homes to their original state in recent years (such as Montpelier, the home of James Madison). You can take a guided tour through the Birthplace home.
Woodrow Wilson Museum – Photo Credit
After you are done touring the Birthplace, you can make your way over to the Museum. The museum is located in the mansion next door to the Birthplace. First thing to do is take a self-guided tour of more than a half dozen galleries that trace different segments of the President’s life. These mainstay exhibits include: the Wilson family, Princeton years, Governor of New Jersey, Presidency, WWI, Treaty of Versailles, and the League of Nations. There is an interactive experience that lets you get into the feel for the warfront during WWI. For the younger children there is a children’s exhibit area and interactive scavenger hunts. The first floor is the museum; the second floor houses the research library; the third floor is the archives. There are many traveling exhibits that rotate through this museum as well and you can check out their calendar of events for these and other special events.
Wilson’s Pierce Arrow Limousine – Photo Credit
And the President’s famous Pierce Arrow limo is there as well. This was provided to him as part of the Presidential fleet following his return to the USA following his time in Paris working on the Treaty of Versailles. When he left the Presidency, his friends purchased the car from the government for Wilson and his wife then gifted it to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation following his death.
Boxwood Garden of The Manse – Photo Credit
Also, located behind The Manse is a boxwood garden that you can stroll through – although not original to the site. The garden is kept up by The Garden Club of Virginia, who keeps up many other historic gardens in the state.
There are more than two dozen document collections housed at Museum and Library – access which can be granted through arrangement. However, should you want to access some of these documents from the comfort of your own home, you can do that too! Among the collections available in the eLibrary is the correspondence of Edith Wilson, the President’s second wife. They have copies of the original documents as well as typed reproductions. The website for the Library and Museum also offers a plethora of information on the President that you can explore to learn more.
And if you want to see more of the Museum, Library, Garden, and Collections – check out this short video tour:
The tickets for the Library and Museum are $14 for adults and $Free-$7 for children (depending on age).
Have you ever visited this Library and Museum?
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