Published July 20, 2017

About the Organization

The Edith Bolling Wilson Museum celebrates the life and legacy of the only Appalachian-born First Lady. Edith Bolling Wilson is sometimes referred to as “the Secret President” due to her involvement in White House affairs in the aftermath of President Woodrow Wilson’s stroke amidst peace negotiations after World War I.

The museum opened in 2008 in the historic Bolling Building in downtown Wytheville, Virginia and is one of only eight museums dedicated to the interpretation of a First Lady. The museum offers tours of the birthplace site and educational programs for audiences of all ages.

The Project

Edith Bolling Wilson

“World War I: From the White House…and Abroad” is the first comprehensive exhibition presented by the museum. It focuses on the leadership and contributions of Wytheville-native First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson during World War I and how her involvement in international and domestic affairs affected the home front.

The exhibition will feature several panels with photographs and interpretative content paired with a display of artifacts from various collections, including the President Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C.

VFH’s Support

For a long time, the museum has wanted to present a scholarly interpretation of Edith Bolling Wilson’s time in the White House. The community here in Wytheville, like so many others, was deeply affected by the war and we look forward to presenting the stories of the home front and the soldiers serving from Wythe County. The museum is working with a small team of scholars to advise us on telling a complete story about White House affairs during this period and how it affected the country and the rest of the world.

This project would not be possible without the support from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. With VFH’s support we are able to leverage additional resources to help us build capacity as an organization. We hope that the exhibition will draw visitors from across the Commonwealth and country who are interested in learning about the First Lady and her role during the war.

Explore More

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

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