Wilton Historical Society Field Trip: Visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY

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The Wilton Historical Society is offering a day trip to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, on Friday, May 19. The excursion, departing at 9:30 from the Society’s Museum Complex, will be led by Leslie Nolan, Executive Director of the Society. The group will be provided with a personalized tour of the FDR Library and Museum by the museum director, which will include the special photography exhibition on the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII which is currently on display. The exhibit, with over 200 images on display, includes photographs by Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams.

Fee for members of the Wilton Historical Society $25; Non-members $35, includes transportation and admission fee. Lunch locally on your own or with the group. Return no later than 2:30. Space is limited.

Presidential Libraries are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration and presenting them to the public for study and discussion without regard for political considerations or affiliations. Presidential Libraries and Museums, like their holdings, belong to the American people.

During his second term in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt surveyed the vast quantities of papers and other materials he and his staff had accumulated. In the past, many Presidential papers and records had been lost, destroyed, sold for profit, or ruined by poor storage conditions. President Roosevelt sought a better alternative. On the advice of noted historians and scholars, he established a public repository to preserve the evidence of the Presidency for future generations. Beginning a tradition that continues to this day, he raised private funds for the new facility and then turned it over to the United States government for operation through the National Archives.

The Museum collects and preserves materials related to the lives and careers of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and their friends, family, and associates. The Museum also acquires items that reflect political, social, military, diplomatic, and cultural life in America during the 1930s and 1940s.

Franklin Roosevelt was a great collector. From an early age he gathered large collections of stamps, ship models, rare books, prints, coins, and drawings. By the time of his election as President, he had amassed one of the nation’s finest collections of naval art and impressive collections of Hudson River Valley art and historical prints. During the New Deal years, he collected hundreds of examples of art and crafts work produced by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and other government agencies.

FDR placed all of his personal collections in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, which he created in 1941. These materials became the core of a Museum collection that now numbers over 34,000 items. In the years after 1941, the collection expanded to include clothing, personal items, furniture, and other materials connected to the President and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. There are also items related to their family, friends, and political associates and material that reflect the rich social, political, and cultural history of the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.

On February 19, 2017 — the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 — the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum opened a new photographic exhibition entitled, IMAGES OF INTERNMENT: THE INCARCERATION OF JAPANESE AMERICANS DURING WORLD WAR II, with over 200 photographs including the work of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 9066 led to the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent — including approximately 80,000 American citizens — during World War II. In the tense weeks after Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, many Americans — particularly those on the Pacific Coast — feared enemy attack and saw danger in every corner. Rumors and sensational media reports heightened the climate of fear. Under pressure from military and political leaders, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. It is widely viewed today as a serious violation of civil liberties.

Tying in with the field trip, The Wilton Historical Society’s “Booked for Lunch” group will be reading Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves. Bestselling author Richard Reeves provides an authoritative account of the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese residents during World War II. The book, a Los Angeles Times bestseller and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice title, will be discussed on Friday, June 30 from 12:30 – 2:00 at the Society.

To register for the excursion or for the Booked for Lunch discussion group, please contact by email: info@wiltonhistorical.org or call 203-762-7257.