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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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Grade 7 Visits the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum
FDR Video
FDR Museum

Grade 7 students visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York this week. The field trip aligned with student research into what it means to be American. The visit allowed students to deepen their understanding of the complex situations the president faced in office.

“It was very interesting to be standing in the same place as a great president like Franklin Delano Roosevelt once was,” said Evan Minaidis ’28.

At the library, students explored interactive programs on Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Great Depression, New Deal, Dust Bowl, and World War II, and their impact on contemporary life. 

Before their visit, the students studied the president’s "Day of Infamy" speech, which he delivered the day after the Pearl Harbor bombing. Together, they analyzed his use of rhetoric in the address. At the library, they saw the original transcript of that speech. Such interactions allowed their discussions to resonate in a new way.

“Our curriculum gave them good background knowledge to be able to understand some of FDR's challenges as president,” said English teacher and Grade 7 Team Leader Anna Lubowitz. 

FDR Museum

Additionally, students read ‘They Called Us Enemy,’ George Takei's memoir about his experience in Japanese internment camps as a result of Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

After discussing the negative impact of the order in class, the library and museum provided students with the opportunity to examine additional aspects Roosevelt’s presidency, and draw their own conclusions about him. 

“The trip helped students see that FDR was a dynamic president and person who also enjoyed widespread popularity and made many decisions that improved the American economy,” said Lubowitz. “We are always striving for that in our curriculum - to teach students how to think, not what to think, by exposing them to multiple sides or facets of an issue, person, idea, or concept.”
The experience also offered a more intimate look into the former president's life.

“When touring FDR's childhood home, which he eventually shared with his wife and First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, students saw a more ‘human' side to him,” said Lubowitz. “They learned how he collected birds to study and eventually donated to the Museum of Natural History.”

FDR House

The house tour revealed the many accommodations necessary for the president to navigate daily life.

“I found it interesting to learn about how loved he was by the American people, and how that love continued to grow after he was diagnosed with polio,” said Vicky Krishna ’28. “I love the ways people tried to help him and how he modified his life to adapt to this struggle.”

His perseverance in the face of the debilitating disease resonated.

“Roosevelt was a man who faced adversity in his struggle with polio,” said Evan. “But he approached challenges in innovative ways like his homemade wheelchair, his elevator, and hidden knee braces.” 

Students also discovered the late president’s efforts to hide his disability.

“Many of the students did not realize that he hid his disability from the public, often sitting in a wheelchair that looked like a regular chair and wearing a blanket over his lap,” said Lubowitz. “This home tour helped to humanize FDR and cultivate a sense of empathy, and in some cases, even left students asking more questions than they had when they entered the home.”

President Roosevelt recognized the void in archiving historical documents and sought an alternative as his administration came to a close. He created the library to house records and artifacts related to his administration and to present them to the public for study. The library was the first of its kind, beginning a tradition for all subsequent presidents.  
“All in all, this was a fun and educational experience with a very strong message,” said Evan, “you should never give up.”

FDR Office