Mission: The mission of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library (WWPL) is to promote an understanding of the life and times of President Woodrow Wilson, his impact on the world, and his relevance today and for the future.
Community Need: Studying history is more than learning dates and facts about people who lived in the past; it allows us to make sense of the past. The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (2014) revealed that nationally only 18% of eighth grade students are proficient in U.S. History. In a time where other subject areas may seem more substantial or important, the study of history is fundamental to a successful democracy. Museums are an essential part of the learning process. The WWPL is based on utilizing the artifacts, documents, and photographs in their collection to educate audiences of all ages and encourage them to create a better future. Currently, the WWPL is in the middle of a Community Engagement Assessment through a grant from the American Alliance of Museums. Using the results of this assessment, will aid the WWPL in creating new exhibits and programming for the public.
Constituents Served: The WWPL educates citizens of all ages from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. During the last fiscal year, WWPL provided educational tours and programs for 22,257 visitors (local citizens and visitors from 47 states and 30 countries). In addition, 1,513 school children attended field trips from 29 schools with 302 adult chaperones, and about 200 local children attended special events and camps. Museum educators also reached approximately 800 children and teachers through outreach programs offered in area schools. The Wilson Leadership Program finished its second year with 24 teens from 10 area schools. Furthermore, WWPL events commemorating Flag Day and Veterans Day, their annual Open House, the annual Luncheon, the Garden Party, book discussions, and lectures on various relevant topics attracted a total of over 1,900 participants. They conducted interactive online “Virtual Field Trips” for about 350 students and retirement home residents.
Primary Activities: The WWPL staff is busy creating opportunities to connect citizens of all ages to the study of history and its relevance for today. Children’s programming provides school tours, outreach programs with costumed interpreters visiting schools in the region, one-day themed workshops, summer history camps, and the Wilson Leadership Program for high school students. Adult programming includes interpretive tours, symposia, lectures, panel discussions, exhibit previews, and guest speakers that focus on a wide variety of issues during the years of Wilson’s life and the current impact of those issues. The WWPL works with area colleges and universities to provide hands-on training for students interested in public history and research. The WWPL also cares for the thousands of artifacts and documents using stringent guidelines of the American Alliance of Museums. The Virtual Field Trip program offers interactive sessions for any classroom or other venue in the world by using state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology. It has been used to teach K-12 students, college students who are Social Studies teachers-in-training, and retirement home residents in many different states (and Mexico). The Virtual Field Trips have also been useful for local middle and high schools whose class sizes are too large for onsite trips to the WWPL.
Amount Requested: $5,000
Operating Budget: $631,404