Press/Journalists

Press Release
November 13, 2003


Archivist of the United States to Open Historic Roosevelt Hyde Park Addition

Washington, DC. . .Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin is scheduled to make history Saturday, November 15, with the opening of the newest addition to the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, NY, the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center. The event, which begins at 2:30 p.m. adjacent to the Wallace Center, is free and open to the public.

Joining Mr. Carlin will be federal and state government officials, members of the Henry A. Wallace and Roosevelt families, and representatives of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, a not-for-profit partner in the funding of the new center. A keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will highlight the program. The West Point Glee Club will perform during the dedication.

The Wallace Center is the first major addition to the Roosevelt estate since President Roosevelt dedicated his library, the first Presidential Library, in 1941. Representing a $20 million investment from three partners-the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Park Service, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute-the new facility is designed to serve students, teachers and the visiting public at the Roosevelt Presidential Library and the sites administered by the National Park Service in Hyde Park: the Roosevelt Home, Eleanor Roosevelt's Cottage (Val-Kill), FDR's retirement retreat (Top Cottage) and the Vanderbilt mansion.

Facilities will include orientation exhibits and a new High Definition film called "A Rendezvous with History: The Roosevelts of Hyde Park" to welcome the public to the world of the Roosevelts. In addition to their introduction to the Library and Home, visitors will be able to purchase tickets and receive information about the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt sites and nearby destinations in the historic Hudson Valley.

In addition, the new building will offer multi-purpose rooms designed for conferences, schools groups, and special programs; a café; state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities; an auditorium; and a new museum store.

The architectural design, created by the New York City firm of Kliment and Halsband, is based upon the simple lines of early Dutch buildings in the Hudson River Valley, including the Presidential Library that was designed by FDR himself.

According to Dr. Cynthia Koch, director of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, the new center will be a focal point for heritage tourism and will serve as an economic generator within the Hudson Valley region. "Each year, more than 125,000 visitors of all ages tour the Roosevelt estate. While we and our partners have endeavored to ensure that a visitor's journey to Hyde Park is rich and educational, this new center creates further opportunities to connect people to the Roosevelt era. We are thrilled by the opportunity to share this great day with the public and view this moment as the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a resurgence in interest in this great president and first lady," she said.

Archivist John Carlin, echoed this praise for the Wallace Center. "This new interpretive center will have an enormous educational impact on both school children and adults. It will enhance our understanding of the Roosevelt Administration and the role of the Presidency in American life." he said.

The Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center is named in honor of the man who served as Secretary of Agriculture (1933-40) and Vice President during FDR's third term.

The dedication of the Wallace Center is part of a gala weekend of activities which includes the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute's presentation of the Four Freedoms Awards to former Senator George Mitchell, legendary broadcaster Studs Terkel, human rights advocate and former Congressman Father Robert Drinan, co-founder of the United Farm Worker Dolores Huerta, and Senator Robert Byrd.

For more information about the Wallace Center dedication, members of the public may call the FDR Presidential Library and Museum at 1-800-FDR-VISIT (1-800-337-8474).

Note to editors and producers- Members of the working press seeking to arrange coverage or interviews should contact Bob Bullock, director of institutional advancement for the Roosevelt Institute at (845) 486-7768, or cell at (518) 248-2155 or Lynn Bassanese, director of public programs for the Roosevelt Library, at (845) 486-7741.

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