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Putting together a brand new 12,000 square foot museum exhibit has been quite an adventure. There are countless components that go into the design and fabrication of an exhibit. Currently, we are working with a design company, an interactive contractor, a fabrication company and an audiovisual production company.
One of the highlights of the experience came on May 6th when museum curator Herman Eberhardt and I traveled to New York City to meet our audiovisual contractor, Monadnock Media, to record the narration for our Legacy film. There are 17 audiovisual productions in our new exhibit ranging from silent film treatments to immersive theater experiences. But there is no more important film than the one which will be shown in the Legacy Theater, the very last thing people experience in our exhibit. Here our visitors should understand that the world we live in today is still very much the world that Franklin Roosevelt envisioned and fought for.
Our team struggled with the script for this important theater. Nothing seemed to hit the mark until our audiovisual producer found an essay that President Bill Clinton had written about FDR back in 2000. As soon as we read it we knew it was our script. Clinton captured the essence of FDR and his legacy.
I reached out to President Clinton through his staff and my dear colleague, Terri Garner, director of the Clinton Presidential Library. I was not only asking to use Clinton’s essay but I wanted him to read it as the narration for our film. A lot to ask one of the busiest former presidents in our country’s history.
I knew the one thing I had in my favor was that Clinton loved FDR. He had visited the Roosevelt Library three times during his presidency and once after leaving office. Fortunately for us he agreed to record – our last hurdle was working with his staff to find the time in his busy schedule.
We did the recording at a New York City hotel after he attended a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. He seemed a bit tired after a very long day but he was charming and gracious and the minute I heard him reading his words I knew we were going to have an amazing experience for our museum visitors. Our heartfelt thanks to President Clinton for his amazing generosity with his time and his words and to Terri Garner, director of the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and Elizabeth Bibi, senior communications associate for the Clinton Foundation, for their assistance in making it all happen.
The Roosevelt Library will present several free holiday-related programs in the first few weeks of December. In commemoration of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will host an author talk and book signing with Stanley Weintraub, author of PEARL HARBOR CHRISTMAS: A WORLD AT WAR, DECEMBER 1941. The program will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7, 2012 in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. Following the presentation, Professor Weintraub will sign copies of his book — now available in paperback.
The Roosevelt Library and the Home of FDR (Springwood) will be open to visitors free of charge on December 15, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., as part of the annual Holiday Open House activities. There will be holiday decorations, refreshments and special activities beginning at Noon in the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center. The seventh annual Children’s Reading Festival — presented by the Roosevelt Library and the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District — will be held in the Henry A. Wallace Center, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on December 15.
Children’s book authors will read from and sign copies of their books. Featured books will be available for purchase in the New Deal Store in the Wallace Center. Authors will include:
Oh! What a Christmas! and The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas
Chloe and The Monster Returns
In addition, on December 15, there will be free photos with Santa from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and children can make holiday cards for sailors on the USS FRANKLIN AND ELEANOR ROOSEVELT beginning at Noon. Refreshments will be served throughout the afternoon.
The Library Programs staff wishes you a wonderful holiday season and hopes you’ll consider joining us for these December programs.
.The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park was dedicated on October 17, 2012. Designed by Louis I. Kahn, the park was built as an enduring tribute to the life and work of President Roosevelt. For more information on the park, please visit:
The FDR Presidential Library and Museum and the Roosevelt Institute are pleased to announce “FDR’s 4 CAMPAIGNS,” a free public forum on October 21, 2012. The forum will consist of two afternoon panel discussions beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. Both panels will feature leading scholars and authors discussing Franklin Roosevelt’s historic four presidential campaigns.
In addition to house seating, these programs will be webcast live (linked from the Library’s website) with online viewer participation. Registration is required. Call (845) 486-7745 for information. For a printable agenda visit the Roosevelt Library website’s events page at:
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to the presidency four times in the midst of the two greatest crises of the 20th century. Each campaign was unique, reflecting Roosevelt’s evolving vision for the Nation and its place in the world.
The first panel discussion, beginning at 1:30 p.m., will focus on FDR’s first two elections. His First and Second campaigns took place during the Great Depression. In 1932, he campaigned to bring a New Deal to the American people. The 1936 election was a referendum on Roosevelt’s vision of a progressive government playing an active and positive role in the American economy. This first panel will be moderated by Mary E. Stuckey, Professor of Communication, Georgia State University and author of “Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity.” Panelists will include Donald A. Ritchie, Historian of the United States Senate and author of “Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932;” and Gregory E. Geddes, Professor of History, State University of New York – Orange and specialist in the history and literature of labor and the American left.
The second panel, beginning at 3:15 p.m. will discuss FDR’s last two elections. During FDR’s Third and Fourth campaigns, the world was at war. In 1940, the major issues were Roosevelt’s run for a Third Term and whether America would remain isolationist. The 1944 campaign was the first wartime election since the Civil War, and a weary FDR ran for a Fourth Term in order to win the war and ensure the peace. This panel will be moderated by Richard Aldous, Eugene Meyer Professor of British History and Literature, Bard College and author and editor of nine books, including “Reagan and Thatcher.” Panelists will include Charles Peters, founder and former Editor-in-Chief, “The Washington Monthly” and author of “Five Days in Philadelphia: The Amazing ‘We Want Willkie!’ Convention of 1940 and How It Freed FDR to Save the Western World;” and Stanley Weintraub, Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities, Pennsylvania State University and author of Final Victory: “FDR’s Extraordinary World War II Presidential Campaign.”
One of our most important jobs at the Roosevelt Library is to make sure our researchers have access to the Library’s holdings. Our research room is continuously busy with a mix of authors, students, academics, genealogists and interested people searching through our documents. We are always happy to hear about their experiences in our research room and enjoy sharing their stories with others.
Rabbi A. James Rudin has been researching at the FDR Library and wrote about his experience. We hope you will enjoy his recent article in the Washington Post as much as we did. To read Rabbi Rudin’s article, please visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/back-to-the-future/2012/09/19/2df8230a-028f-11e2-9132-f2750cd65f97_story.html
Summer is coming to an end and the Roosevelt Library is back in the swing of things with public programs. The Pare Lorentz Center at the FDR Presidential Library presented “Documentary Film: Then and Now” a documentary film festival on Saturday, August 18, 2012. The program opened with screenings of two groundbreaking films by Roosevelt-era film maker Pare Lorentz: “The Plow that Broke the Plains” and “The River.”
Afternoon films included a series of youth-produced short works created at the Children’s Media Project (www.childrensmediaproject.org) as well as two award-winning films recommended by the International Documentary Association (www.documentary.org): “To Be Heard” and “Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey.” Roland Legiardi-Laura, producer/director of “To Be Heard” (http://www.tobeheard.org/), introduced the film and took questions following the screening. The film festival had 32 attendees.
We will host two individual book talks in August and September 2012. On Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., the Library will present an author talk and signing with Hyde Park Town Historian Carney Rhinevault and Tatiana Rhinevault, co-authors of “Hidden History of the Lower Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road.”
On Sunday, September 23, 2012 the Library will present a talk and signing at 2:00 p.m. with Frank Costigliola, author of “Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War.” Both talks will be in the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center. Following each presentation, the authors will be available to sign copies of their books.
President Roosevelt was an avid collector of books. His love of reading was reflected in the enormity of his collection of well over 21,000 books — now a part of the Roosevelt Library archives.
To honor FDR’s love of books and to celebrate the fact that a host of new books on the Roosevelt era are written each year — many based on research at the Roosevelt Library — the Library held the ninth annual Roosevelt Reading Festival last Saturday, June 23, 2012.
The well-attended program highlighted the recently published work of twelve authors — including Jean Edward Smith author of “Eisenhower in War and Peace” — and a special afternoon presentation by Franklin D. Roosevelt historian Joseph E. Persico, author of the forthcoming “Roosevelt’s Centurions: FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II.” The Reading Festival was held in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home and nearly 600 people attended throughout the day.
Other authors included John Bodnar, “The ‘Good War’ in American Memory”; Ren and Helen Davis, “Our Mark on This Land: A Guide to the Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in America’s Parks”; James Tertius de Kay, “Roosevelt’s Navy: The Education of a Warrior President, 1882-1920″; Michael Hiltzik, “The New Deal: A Modern History”; Mark A. Huddle, “Roi Ottley’s World War II: The Lost Diary of an African American Journalist”; John J. McLaughlin, “General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America’s Unsung Strategist in World War II”; Greg Robinson, “After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics”; Craig Shirley, “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World”; and Mary E. Stuckey, “Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will host its ninth annual Roosevelt Reading Festival on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The Reading Festival will be held in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. All Roosevelt Reading Festival activities are open to the public free of charge.
In six concurrent sessions taking place throughout the day, twelve authors of recently published works that draw upon the Roosevelt Library archives, or focus on the Roosevelt era, will present author talks followed by question-and-answer sessions and book signings. Copies of all of the authors’ books will be available for sale in the New Deal Store located in the Wallace Center. The program begins at 9:45 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts for attendees.
This year’s Roosevelt Reading Festival authors include:
The “Good War” in American Memory
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010
Davis, Ren and Helen
Our Mark on This Land: A Guide to the Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in America’s Parks
McDonald & Woodward, 2011
de Kay, James Tertius
Roosevelt’s Navy: The Education of a Warrior President, 1882-1920
The New Deal: A Modern History
Free Press, 2011
Huddle, Mark A., ed.
Roi Ottley’s World War II: The Lost Diary of an African American Journalist
University Press of Kansas, 2011
Jersey Justice: The Story of the Trenton Six
Rivergate Books, 2011
McLaughlin, John J.
General Albert C. Wedemeyer: America’s Unsung Strategist in World War II
After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics
University of California Press, 2012
December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World
Thomas Nelson, 2011
Smith, Jean Edward
Eisenhower in War and Peace
Random House, 2012
Stuckey, Mary E.
Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity
University Press of Kansas, 2004
Both the FDR Presidential Library and the Home of FDR National Historic Site hosted more than 3000 visitors over Memorial Day Weekend at a series of public programs and events. The weekend kicked off with a full audience at the Library’s annual USO Show on Friday night. Attendees were treated to an evening of entertainment including comedy, newsreels, and acrobatics, and ending in a half-hour set of big band music.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Library presented a weekend of historic military displays in the Henry A. Wallace Center. Re-enactors in battle dress shared their love of history with visitors. Collections of military uniforms, prop weapons, and insignia from 1917 to the present day were also displayed. Four period military vehicles in the Library parking lot made up one of the more popular exhibits. On Monday, Memorial Day, the Home of FDR National Historic Site hosted a graveside memorial service and Commander Rob Thompson of the USS ROOSEVELT (DDG 80), a guided missile destroyer, made remarks. Commander Thompson and 25 members of his crew were visiting Hyde Park on May 28 as part of Dutchess County Fleet Week 2012.
In conjunction with the opening of a special exhibit at the Morgan Library in New York City (opening June 7) called “Churchill: the Power of Words,” the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute will host a one-day symposium on June 9, 2012 that will examine the wartime relationship of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, the onset of the “special relationship” between Great Britain and the United States, and the legacy of the two men for both liberal and conservative politics in the United States and United Kingdom. The program will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home, Hyde Park, New York.
The symposium is being organized in collaboration with the Churchill Archives Centre (Cambridge, England), the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the Morgan Library and Marist College. “The Churchill-Roosevelt Legacy” symposium will consist of two afternoon panel discussions that includes such notable scholars as David Reynolds, author of “In Command of History, Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War”; Andrew Roberts, author of “Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West”; Richard Aldous, author of “Reagan and Thatcher: A Difficult Relationship”; and Warren Kimball, author “Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War.” This is a free public event.
New Photo Exhibit is Open!
From May 1, 2012 to late summer 2013 — while the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum’s permanent exhibit galleries are closed for the final stage of a $35 million renovation — the Roosevelt Library is presenting the largest photography exhibition ever assembled on the lives and public careers of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. “THE ROOSEVELTS: PUBLIC FIGURES, PRIVATE LIVES,” is a new and very different kind of exhibit that takes visitors on an immersive photographic and film journey through the lives and times of the Roosevelts. The exhibition features nearly one thousand images that vividly depict both their public and private lives.
Be sure to also check out the fantastic piece by Ed Rothstein in the New York Times about the Library’s new photo exhibit!