Educational Programs at the
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum fosters research and education on the lives and times of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Great Depression, and World War II and their continuing impact on contemporary life. Its Education Department staff conducts educational programs designed for K-12, college and university students; adult learners; and the general public. These programs include classroom workshops, Museum programs, teacher development seminars, and outreach. All K-12 educational programs at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum are provided free of charge and are supported in part by the Robert L. Bier Education Center of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. The National Park Service offers interpretive programs for school groups that are not included in the list of National Archives programs below. Please visit www.nps.gov/hofrfor information related to the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites.
The Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Centerserves as a joint visitor and education center for those who come to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the Home of FDR National Historic Site.
The Center's facilities include three classrooms for interactive and hands-on activities, each with a fifty student capacity, and state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities with distance learning and video conferencing capability. The Wallace Center also serves tourists visiting the Presidential Library and Roosevelt Home with an introductory film and orientation exhibits, museum store (teacher discounts for classroom materials are available), seasonal cafe and ample restroom facilities.
2nd and 3rd Grade
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Fala's Famous Friend
A fun-filled historical journey awaits students when they meet Fala, FDR's faithful canine companion. Led by a historical character interpreter dressed as Fala, FDR's Scottish terrier and the nation's first "First Dog," young students engage in a storybook adventure of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's life as President and First Lady. A question and answer session follows.
In addition to the storybook session, history comes alive as students explore the museum galleries through "Franklin D. Roosevelt: Fala's Famous Friend" activity and history hunt. Historical icons including FDR's White House Desk, Mrs. Roosevelt's Diplomatic Passport, the President's hand-controlled 1936 Ford convertible, and even FDR's report card introduce the students to the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
4th through 6th Grade
Pretend You Are the President
Pretend You Are the President helps students explore the Essential Question, "Is it easy to be President?" by exploring the many duties in the "job description" of the President of the United States. Using a single day from the Roosevelt presidency as an example, students break into small groups to role-play five presidential roles: Commander-in-Chief, Head of State, Foreign Policy-Maker, Initiator of Legislation, and Political Party Leader. Participants learn by working with documents, photographs, and artifacts associated with each role. During summary discussion, students discover the complexity of the Presidency in FDR's day as well as today.
A visit to the Museum galleries of the Roosevelt Presidential Library reinforces student understanding of FDR's handling of the presidency through examination of historical exhibits.
Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World
Through the use of literature, documents, photographs and artifacts, students discover the unique qualities that made Eleanor Roosevelt a ground-breaking First Lady for our country and for all the world. While examining stories taken from Mrs. Roosevelt's life, students compare the accounts with copies of actual primary source documents. In addition, they will have the opportunity to explore her life by surveying the contents of her wallet.
A visit to the Museum galleries further expands students' awareness of the life and times of one of the most infuluential women in history.
7th through 9th Grade
Directed Student Research in Primary Source Documents
FDR and the Great Depression
In this archival workshop, document-based historical research comes to life. In three DBQ workshops, students explore the major themes of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and Mrs. Roosevelt's leadership on international human rights. Facsimile copies of original letters, diaries, photographs, artifacts, and vintage recordings from the collections of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library give students a facinating introduction to the tools they need to successfully answer document-based questions on any subject.
7th through 12th Grade
The Presidency: Day of Decision
This programs allows students to get a sense of the tremendous burden and complexity of the modern American presidency by asking them to assume the role of a President who is facing a series of crises requiring fast action and tough choices. The problems range from international aggression, domestic concerns, and natrual disasters. By consulting with advisors, allocating resources, managing the press, and racing against the clock, the "Student Presidents" experience first hand the pressures of the Oval Office.
The "crises" your students will face can be arranged in advance of your visit by contacting the Library's Education Specialist or selected from a number of choices when you arrive.
10th through 12th, and College Level
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Issues Forum
This archival workshop session provides students with hands-on experience in conducting original primary source research and analysis. Students learn to frame their own research questions, drawn from facsimile copies of original documents from the Archives of the Roosevelt Presidential Library. Facsimile sets of archival material commonly used by historians to research issues of enduing significance from the Roosevelt Era are organized for student use. These include declassified Top Secret documents, private and public correspondence, speeches, meeting notes and reports, newspaper and/or magazine clippings, diary entries, maps, and historic photographs. Working in small groups, students learn to consider essential questions and challenge and defend conclusions drawn from their review of the primary sources. Information and insight gained from the exercise can be used in reports or projects to be completed in the classroom or in public policy debates.
Customized college-level programs using archival material from the Roosevelt Presidential Library can be arranged by contacting the Library's Education Specialist. Student research in the documentary collections available through the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Issues Forum may also be adapted for the college level.
Teacher Development Workshops
The Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum offers a number of both on and off site Professional Development Workshops drawing on our rich resources and knowledgeable staff. Teachers can sharpen their skills, renew their enthusiasm for teaching history and earn professional development credit by attending a variety of professional development workshops including:
- Teaching American History Grant Workshops (each specially designed to District and Grant specifications and requirements )
- Introduction to Resources and Programs at the Roosevelt Presidential Library
- Working with Primary Sources at the Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
- Developing Document Based Questions from Primary Source Material from the Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
- Using Film in the Classroom
- Racism in America: Tuskegee; Today; Tomorrow
Find detailed descriptions of these informative workshop programs by visiting our Teacher Development Workshops page. You can also contact the Library's Education Specialist Jeffrey Urbin by phone at (845) 486-7761 or by email at Jeffrey.Urbin@nara.gov for more information