Opened to the public in November 1990, the Woodrow Wilson Museum is housed in an adaptively-renovated chateau style mansion adjacent to Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace.
The Museum galleries guide you through Wilson’s public life, from his Princeton study to his historic Great War peace efforts, and encompassing his service from 1913 to 1921 as the 28th President of the United States.
The Manse house museum comes to life through period furnishings, the Wilsons’ household belongings, and guided interpretation. A charming 1933 boxwood garden, a restoration project of the Garden Club of Virginia, complements the National Historic Landmark.
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library houses a unique collection of Woodrow Wilson materials from during and immediately after his life, including many works by those who knew him best such as Edith Bolling Wilson, John Randolph Bolling, Stockton Axson, and his daughter Eleanor, to name but a few. In addition, the Library contains many memoirs of those who worked with Wilson in an official capacity. The Library also houses an array of official and non-official governmental volumes concerning World War I.
When Woodrow Wilson returned from France after negotiating the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, a new Pierce-Arrow limousine awaited him at the dock in New York to take him back to Washington. The automobile had just been added to the White House fleet. Wilson favored this automobile so much that when he left office his friends purchased it for him to use. The car had received its finishing touches at the plant of the manufacturer, the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company of Buffalo, New York, in June 1919. It was the 120th of the “Series 51” model.
From July, 1919, until the inauguration of his successor in 1921, President Wilson rode frequently in the handsome limousine on official business. The automobile was distinguished by two special emblems. On each of its arched rear passenger doors, the Presidential Seal was displayed. On the front of the radiator panel was the AAA symbol, for in 1917 he was the first President of the United States to join the association.
A gift to the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation from Wilson’s widow, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the limousine has been restored and its engine is in full working order. It is on display in the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Museum.
Your visit also includes a guided tour of Wilson’s birthplace, the Presbyterian Manse, the home provided by the church for the Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson and his family. Interpreters will take you back to 1856 when Wilson was born and discuss his family and upbringing and the lifestyle of that period. Tours are approximately 30 to 40 minutes in length and leave from the museum every 45 minutes.
For more info, visit www.woodrowwilson.org