Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Roadie: FDR Presidential Library & Museum

The FDR Presidential Library & Museum located in Hyde Park, New York. (9/3/16)
On Labor Day weekend, my wife and I once again made our way to New York City. Four years ago it was an anxious train ride to deliver my stepson to Columbia University for his freshmen year; this year, his final one as an undergraduate, was a much different trek. Having spent the summer in New York City, the majority of his belongings were already there, and rather than escorting him to campus, as he departed our home in Rochester, my wife and I left by car. When he arrived in town to settle in in on Saturday afternoon, we were arriving in Poughkipsee, New York, for some sightseeing before taking the train to visit the following day.

At this point Gregory really doesn't require much help moving, but we wanted to see his new dorm and decided to make a weekend out of it. Having Gregory go to college in New York City has provided Anne and I with many opportunities to visit a number of the historical sites in and around New York City, and this final September journey was no different--except that we were not solely in Gotham.

A National Historic Site, The Frederick Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, operated by the National Park Service, is located on the grounds of Springwood, the Roosevelt family estate in neighboring Hyde Park, New York. With Poughkipsee only a manageable two-hour train ride from New York City, its location was ideal as a base of operations for a day trip to the FDR National Park prior to heading to NYC. We would have liked to have spent more time in Hyde Park, as the four hours we did spend visiting was only enough to see a small part of the park's offerings. The library was built under the President's personal direction in 1939-1940, and dedicated on June 30, 1941. It is one of the thirteen presidential libraries under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Close-up of FDR bust outside museum. (9/3/16)
Given their four terms in office, it is not suprising how quotable
President Roosevelt and his wife turned out to be.

Not a recreation, but FDR's working study in the museum during his life. (9/3/16) 

The President's desk from his time in the Oval Office. (9/3/16)

Busts of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt welcome visitors to the museum. (9/3/16)
Picturesque park land immediately outside the museum. (9/3/16)
Looking back through these images from our visit to the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, I am struck by how poorly they reflect how incredibly entertaining and educational this historic site is. As someone with not nearly as deep an understanding of U.S. history as he should, while visiting places I am often more focused on taking the displays in than capturing the experience on "film". In addition to the few displays seen above, there are also six-minute films for viewing prior to each section of the museum. Each included archival footage and were thoroughly engaging. Ranging from FDR's childhood and early political life to an exploration of his lasting influence on the world, narrated by President Clinton, taken as a whole they provided wonderful context and background.

When we met Gregory the following day in New York City, both Anne and I highly recommended that he take some time to visit the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park.

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