Wilson Library Celebrates Birthday, Prepares to Open Research Facility

By: Janelle Lilley Email
By: Janelle Lilley Email

December 28 is usually a very busy day in Staunton, but it has nothing to do with the holidays.

President Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton 154 years ago.

As a birthday present to everyone, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library was open to visitors Tuesday at no charge.

Tour guides shined as visitors swarmed the library. More than 850 people showed up to see the new World War I trench exhibit, setting a new record for the museum.

"The other way we've expanded is we bought the building next to the museum. We're turning that into the library and research center," says spokesperson William Browning.

With the economy, Browning says it took a little longer to raise the money for the research center, but with $1 million already raised, many of the renovations are complete.

He says the museum hopes to begin drawing in scholars from around the world to the research center early next year.

"It will be a great place for our collections. We have hundreds of thousands of documents from President Wilson and his times," adds Browning.

However, he says the biggest draw to the museum will be the year 2012, which is the centennial anniversary of Wilson's presidential election.

"The key is preparing for these centennial activities. We're working with Wilson sites all over the country and all over the world," adds Browning.

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