Next door to the Vanderbilt mansion is FDR’s house and library. He left the house to the Park Service when he died, and it is in almost the exact shape it was the day he died. Unfortunately, the upstairs was being renovated, so we were unable to visit the bedrooms. We did manage to visit the servants area on the first floor. I thought that for they should have reduced the cost of the tour if they weren’t going to show you the second floor. I would have liked to have seen the more private areas of the house, instead of only the entertaining areas. The library and museum was built by FDR, and was actually used as an official office when he was visiting from Washington. This was the first Presidential Library, and the only one ever used by a sitting president. It was clear that he has a museum in mind from the start, and I kept getting the feeling that probably had the design in place along with all of the pieces prior to his death. The one thing that struck me as odd was the photos. Most museums do not cover people that lived in this century. All you have is paintings and sculptures, and only rarely do you have any photos. In this case, there were several photos taken by FDR, especially as a young man. So, instead of just discussing his trip to Italy, here is his picture of him and Eleanor in the gondola. I’m guessing that museums in the future will struggle when the find out that the person they are all about has a ten thousand photo collection on SmugMug.
In the field next to the house there was a WWII reenactment going on. Before our tour began, we took the opportunity to walk around. It was pretty small, but very cool. We came across both Polish and Russian reenactors. I had never considered non-American reenactors. It was cool to see the difference in their uniforms and gear compared to the Americans.