The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will open its new World War I Exhibit, “World War I:  The ‘Doughboy’ War” at a ceremony on Thursday, March 11, at 4:00 p.m. in the Education Parlor of the Dolores Lescure Center.  At the ceremony, President and CEO Don Wilson will discuss the exhibit, World War I author Dr. Edward Lengel will highlight the significance of World War I, and Judd Bankert--portraying President Wilson--will deliver excerpts of the President’s remarks about the war.  Trustees, Associate Trustees, elected officials, and those who donated artifacts to the exhibit are among those invited to the event.  After the ceremony, guests will tour the exhibit, followed by a reception.   

The exhibit is a fully immersive state-of-the-art experience that takes visitors to the battlefront during the First World War.  It includes a trench, a bunker, a command center, a triage area, lighting, sound effects, and photographs.  The exhibit was designed by Riggs Ward of Richmond with panels written by local author William Walker, who also donated a World War I pistol to the exhibit.  Dr. Wilson and Curator Jarod Kearney also gathered artifacts from the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, the Marshall Foundation in Lexington, and local collectors Jim Huggins and Eleanor Albers.  

Members of the press may preview the exhibit before the ceremony, between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m.  Beginning Friday, March 12, the World War I exhibit will be included in the Presidential Library’s visitor experience at the regular admission price.  Later this spring, the Presidential Library will host a Grand Opening event to which the public will be invited.  

A noted military historian and editor of the papers of President George Washington at the University of Virginia, Dr. Edward Lengel is the author of To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne 1918, an award-winning book on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the last battle of World War I.  This battle involved 1.2 million American soldiers and still stands as the nation’s largest battle.  The book won a major award from the Western Front Association, a group that sponsors interest in the war that shaped 20th-century America.  

Judd Bankert portrays President Wilson for the Presidential Library.  Most recently, he delivered parts of the President’s Armistice Day address at a Veterans Day ceremony in November and took questions from seventh-graders portraying reporters at a mock Presidential press conference before hundreds of students at Beverley Manor Middle School in February.  At the exhibit opening ceremony, he will deliver excerpts of President Wilson’s speech to Congress on April 2, 1917, asking for a declaration of war. 

Anyone who has questions about the exhibit or this ceremony should contact Jarod Kearney, Curator, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 111, or 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