This year’s annual Woodrow Wilson Birthday Open House was a big success! More than 873 guests celebrated President Wilson’s birthday all day on Tuesday, December 28 with activities for the entire family, including making Victorian Christmas crackers and exploring the Museum and the Manse with costumed historical interpreters. There were children’s activities, period music, pizza, birthday cake, coffee, and other refreshments.

This year’s event was the first to include the World War I trench exhibit. As always, President Wilson’s Birthplace was decorated for the holidays in Victorian-era style, and the Woodrow Wilson Museum was open for visitors at no charge. Musician Bill Harouff sang “Christmas in the Trenches,” a song written by John McCutcheon about the Christmas, 1914, unofficial ceasefires on the World War I Western Front. Professional storyteller Susan Clark enchanted children with stories of Christmas past, and musicians Jim Harrington and Buddy Thomas played acoustic period music in the Manse. The Open House was sponsored in part by Shenandoah Pizza, Country Confections, and Mugshots.

Use the links below to see the coverage of the Open House in the press:

Click here for an article on the front page of the News Leader.

Click here for the 17 photos from the News Leader website's photo gallery.  The fifth photo was also on the front page of the News Leader.

Click here for the front page story from the News Virginian.

Click here for the story from Channel 29.

Click here for the story from Channel 3.

Click here for the article from the News Leader before the event.

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