One of this nation’s more treasured traditions is the creation of presidential libraries. Of the existing museums established to honor our brave leaders, one of the most visited was set up to preserve the work and memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A beloved figure in American history, Roosevelt is often credited with pulling the United States out of the Great Depression and guiding the military through the unprecedented turmoil of World War II. Located in Hyde Park, NY, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is a must-see attraction for history buffs.
The Library and Museum
Unlike most presidential libraries, this one was actually completed while Franklin D. Roosevelt was still in the White House. In 1939, architect John McShain began building on land that was donated by President Roosevelt himself. The president saw a need to preserve the vast array of historical documents and timeless artifacts he had accrued over his political career. Delayed because of the involvement of the United States in World War II, the museum was finally dedicated to the public in 1944.
The presidential library has a wide variety of historically important artifacts. Because Roosevelt was heavily involved in the planning of the facility, it contains the artifacts that he felt were worthy of representing his achievements, giving a unique insight into his mind and the way he perceived his own presidency. After visiting the museum, the Archivist of the United States, Robert D.W. Connor called Roosevelt “the nation’s answer to the historian’s prayer.” Roosevelt actually delivered many of his famous “fireside chats” from the study in the library itself. The estate also dedicates two wings to the work of Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor.
Logistics and Planning
The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, opening longer until 6:00 p.m. during the warmer months. Regular admission is $18, but there are discounts for college students, children under the age of 16, senior citizens, and retired or active military personnel. Temporary exhibits are included in the cost of admission. Be sure to check the events calendar as your trip approaches, as the museum hosts many public programs throughout the year.
The Surrounding Area
Hyde Park, New York, is not a large city, but it does have much to offer the casual traveler. Its scenic streets have been featured in several films, such as Wolf and Heavy. Be sure to grab a bite to eat at Eveready Diner, which was featured on the first season of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. After you are finished, head by the Culinary Institute of America, which is believed by many to be haunted. If you are still in the mood for exploring, Hyde Park is only a short drive away from the Catskills or Poughkeepsie. Once you experience the views there, you'll understand why so many people vacation in upstate New York.
(featured image via Flickr)