Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Part III: FDR Presidential Library and Museum

Our third stop was also in Hyde Park – the FDR Presidential Library and Museum. There are two parts to this – the museum/presidential library and then the historic site. The museum/library is a self-guided tour – a normal museum. The historic site is Franklin’s actual house (well, let’s be honest – Sara’s!), Springwood.
This is a guided tour, but we were too late to make the last one, so we just walked the grounds. We did get to see the rose garden where Eleanor and Franklin are both buried. The house is gorgeous from the outside the view from the front is spectacular. Not what I would have expected.

We did get to go through the museum since it closes later and you don’t need a tour. There is a visitor’s center with a gift shop, a nice cafĂ© and restrooms. You can start with a video, which we only watched a bit of. This is a good place to start your adventures in Hyde Park.
The FDR museum and library is much more like a regular museum and very well done (and has AC). The current changing exhibit is “Action and Action Now” on the first 100 Days. There are several online exhibits you can tour now as well. You can also browse the permanent exhibits from the museum online as well.
The absolute coolest thing, to me anyway, was FDR’s Ford. You can see where it was modified so he could drive it without using the foot pedals and in this time period that’s a huge thing. I did have to laugh at the odometer – only 19,000 miles!

You can also view FDR’s White House desk, but what is there in person, that isn’t in this picture, is a huge globe. Really had me going, this globe, it was just so big! You can also see FDR’s wheelchair here – what a change from the wheelchairs of today!

FDR actually used this library as it was built while he was still alive and that is pretty neat in itself. This is also the first presidential library, built as a Depression project.

Things to Remember:
  • This can get pretty expensive as the tour is $14 and I think you have to pay separately for the museum, another $7 (we got there late and got out of paying at all). You also can’t get combined entrance to this and Val-Kill.
  • This is another guided tour and can fill up so make sure to call ahead and plan to get there to make a tour time.
  • There is a lot to see on the grounds, so plan to do some walking.
  • There are a lot of other things to see in the Hyde Park area, as I mentioned in the Val-Kill post, so plan your visit in advance to see what you want.

I’m going to end with a bit of sideline. I just bought my 6 month old son a NPS Passport Book (that's his below) as a way to record all his museums and create a memory book out of it. I have some suggestions at my personal blog on what we are going to do with it as well as ideas for doing it without buying one, but I wanted to share here as well.

1 comment:

Greg Bevier said...

We bought a passport for our girls last year. They are the perfect souvenir "proof" of visits to famous places. They love it almost as much as I do.