The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will host a Grand Opening of its new World War I Exhibit, with activities for the entire family, including re-enactors, live period music and refreshments, and free tours of the exhibit, on Sunday, May 30, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. At 2:15 p.m., a brief ceremony will kick off the activities, including President Wilson re-enactor Judd Bankert delivering excerpts from one of President Wilson’s speeches about the war, and brief remarks from officials, including Mayor Lacy King and Delegate Dickie Bell. Thanks to the sponsorship of Bankers Insurance and Segars Engineering, the event is open to the public and free of charge. In addition to free tours of the exhibit, tours of the Manse will be available all afternoon, until the last tour at 4:15 p.m., for $5.00.
Throughout the afternoon, the re-enactors, including soldiers, Red Cross nurses, and Salvation Army “Donut Lassies,” will share what life was like during the war. Refreshments will include donuts and other snacks that were available during that time period. Museum educators will be on hand to share artifacts from a World War I soldier’s trunk. Don Wilson, President and CEO, will be leading the free tours of the exhibit.
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. The Presidential Library 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. The exhibit is now included in the Presidential Library’s visitor experience at the regular admission price.
Bankers Insurance Group is a national company that offers insurance options for businesses and individuals and has offices locally in Staunton, Harrisonburg, Lexington, and Charlottesville. Segars Engineering is a Waynesboro civil, structural and architectural design firm focused on green building projects in the industrial, institutional and private sectors.
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is open 360 days a year for guests from around the world to tour the President’s Birthplace, the Museum, and the historic gardens. In addition, thousands of schoolchildren participate in educational programming each year. The Presidential Library attracts top-flight speakers, runs teacher institutes, and a variety of educational symposia. For more information, visit the WWPL’s website at www.woodrowwilson.org.
Anyone who has questions about the ceremony should contact Barbara Wimble, Manager of Visitor Services, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 106, or at email@example.com.