Renovation Update

During Phase 2 of the FDR Library’s building renovation special measures have been taken to protect the largest object in the Museum collection—FDR’s 1936 Ford Phaeton automobile. This vehicle, which features hand controls that allowed the President to drive it without the use of his legs, has been on display on the Library’s lower level for over 65 years. Because of its size, the car could not be removed from the lower level while demolition and construction work took place there. So conservators were brought in to build a special crate to protect the car and allow it to be moved to different locations on the lower level as renovation work progresses there.

The photographs below depict the extensive protective measures. The car was sealed inside a wood crate lined with Marvelseal, an aluminized nylon and polyethylene barrier film that resists the transmission of water vapor and off-gassing from wooden surfaces. The crate was lined with over 100 packs of desiccant to maintain proper humidity levels. A temperature and humidity sensor inside the crate constantly records readings. It can be viewed through the crate’s windows for easy monitoring. ShockWatch labels at several locations on the crate indicate any rough movement.

FDR’s car will be back on public display in the summer of 2013 when the Library’s building renovation is completed and the Museum premiers its new permanent exhibits.

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6 Responses to Renovation Update

  1. Chris says:

    Oh, good grief, more on the renovation but still almost nothing about what made FDR a great president!

    Every week-end on C-SPAN, there are programs from the Nixon Library, the Reagan Library, the George Bush Library, and/or the Herbert Hoover Library and never is heard a derogatory word. One would think from those discussion shows that Hoover, Reagan, Bush and even Nixon were paragons of unparalleled virtue and excellence.

    Yet, here at the FDR Library’s own website, we do not learn about FDR, the man or his legacy, just more about the renovation of the building.

    Do you even care that almost no one today has a clue about FDR’s presidency? People seem to have heard that he was a great president but, if asked, could not tell you why he was.

    It is your task and charge to inform the American people about FDR, not about the building.

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  2. Chris says:

    You could at least have mentioned that FDR designed the hand controls for that car so that he could drive it and not have to rely on others to drive him around.

    As David McCullough (the famous historian) said in a panel discussion on PBS: “Franklin loved to drive and he drove fast. He designed his car himself, with ingenious levers and pulleys so he could drive without his legs. For the first time since he was paralyzed, he felt free. Over the years, his drives through the Georgia countryside would provide him with a valuable political education.”

    FDR was a very clever designer of not only his car but also of the crutches the polios at Warm Springs would use.

    As Hugh Gallagher noted: “Warm Springs was a wonderful place. Roosevelt was a patient just like all the others. ‘Dr. Roosevelt,’ as the others called him, was really remarkably creative. He brought in blacksmiths and they designed braces and crutches — a crutch design that’s still used, the Warm Springs crutch. Roosevelt invented a muscle-testing technique — a way of grading how strong a muscle is — that is still in use, and it was a remarkably inventive time.”

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  3. Marcy says:

    What’s up with the negative comments, and (mis)assumptions? These updates are just one aspect of what the FDR Museum and Library is doing to maintain people’s awareness of FDR. No, I don’t work for the them, but have visited lots of times, and I learn something each time I visit the library/museum, attend a lecture, tour the house and rose garden/burial site (did you know that there are still countless varieties of roses that are still grown there each year?) or just meander around the grounds much as FDR, Mrs. R. and the children and grandchildren did.

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  4. Chris says:

    Well, Marcy, I am delighted that you can visit the FDR Library and learn, there, all about FDR, but most Americans cannot visit the Library and look to this website to learn about FDR.

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  5. Marcy says:

    Agreed, Chris. But, I think there is a lot of info out there, that sheds light (negative and positive) on FDR and his presidency. Anyone interested in either side of the coin, can find it easily in today’s political climate, if they are looking for it. My point was about not taking exception to the renovation updates.

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  6. Chris says:

    The mission of the FDR Library is to allow and help the American people to learn about FDR, his life his presidency and his legacy.

    The FDR Library’s mission is NOT to inform us about the life stories of the staffers or the details of the repairs to the building.

    I do not believe the FDR Library staffers are accepting or fulfilling their responsibility to FDR or to his legacy. I wish I knew why they are so disinterested in telling the world the story of President Roosevelt; he was a remarkable man and a great president. Do they shrink from telling this fascinating story because they don’t actually know much, or is it that they simply do not care? The result is the same either way: they seem to tell us precious little about FDR but a great deal about the building and the people who work in the building.

    Marcy, I agree with you that there is much good information to be found on the internet about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, BUT for the curious people who come to the FDR Library blog expecting to learn about FDR, it is hardly the role of the FDR Library staffers to tell them that it would be a good idea to Google his name.

    Details about the building , the staffers, the interior and exterior decorations of the FDR Library would not be important today if not for the extraordinary presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If he had not been the great president he was, all of those things would be just so much unimportant trivia about some lovely Hudson River home.

    And most of the staffers would not have jobs since only a few caretakers would be required to take care of the place.

    My most important point, however, is that there is an ongoing and concerted political effort to destroy the reputation of FDR; there are articles and books galore claiming that his policies were wrong. These books and articles are fountains of misinformation, distortion, and outright lies — but they WILL be believed by the gullible among us. It is the DUTY of the FDR Library staff to counteract those efforts and to correct the historical record, for all our sakes.

    FDR was a remarkable and great president, and it is the job of the FDR Library staffers to make that clear to the public. Else why are they there at all?

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