The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum today announced that ten 7th grade trunk contest winners from Linda Petzke’s class at Stewart Middle School in Augusta County will visit the Presidential Library on Thursday, March 25, at 11:30 a.m. to explore trunks of President Wilson-related documents and artifacts.   The contest was inspired by the trunks of letters and other documents concerning the President that his personal physician and friend, Rear Admiral Cary T. Grayson, saved and that his family donated to the Presidential Library.  Ms. Petzke asked each of her students to create his or her own trunk containing copies of a variety of historical documents, including maps, telegrams, newspaper articles, photographs, posters, and letters.  The ten winners of the contest are rewarded with the opportunity to visit the Presidential Library and see Admiral Grayson’s trunks themselves.  The students will also visit the recently-opened World War I trench exhibit.  

Ms. Petzke also serves as an interpreter at the Presidential Library on weekends and has designed lesson plans for the Presidential Library.  Through her part-time work, she became aware of Dr. Grayson’s trunks and devised the contest as a way to make history fun for her social studies students.  Ms. Petzke and the students will donate some of the winning trunks to the Presidential Library to inspire other student trunk contests.  Attached is the trunk assignment.  

The trunk contest is one of many WWPL’s educational outreach activities.  The Presidential Library regularly hosts area students for interactive programs that meet Virginia Standards of Learning requirements.  In the “Journey Into History” program and the “Professor, President, Peacemaker” program, students tour President Wilson's birthplace and participate in group activities in the Woodrow Wilson Museum.  The WWPL also hosts two sessions of a summer “Journey Into History” camp, a three-day interactive history camp for seven- to ten-year-olds with a different historical theme each summer.  For more information about the trunk contest, contact Linda Petzke at (540) 245-5046. 

For more information about any of the Presidential Library’s children’s programs, contact Ellen Abernethy, Museum Educator, at, or at (540) 885-0897, ext. 110, or visit the website at


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation