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New Special Exhibition

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THE ART OF WAR
American Poster Art 1941-1945                          

April 21—December 31, 2018                                                                    

World War II confronted Americans with the greatest military challenge in their history. Victory required raising and equipping an armed force that grew to over 12 million and rallying tens of millions of civilians to serve on the war’s “Home Front.”

A mobilization of this size required publicity to inform and guide Americans about the war effort. The government used advertisements, radio programs, pamphlets, and films to do this. But its most sharply focused messages were delivered in colorful posters created by some the nation’s finest illustrators and graphic designers. Produced by the millions, they blanketed the country with warnings, advice, recommendations, and clarion calls on subjects ranging from war bonds and scrap drive to civil defense and rationing.

On April 21, 2018 the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will open THE ART OF WAR: AMERICAN POSTER ART 1941-1945, a new special exhibition featuring over 150 colorful World War II posters. Drawn from the Library’s enormous collection of over 3000 wartime posters (one of the largest in the nation) they cover an array of topics that vividly illustrate the wide-ranging impact World War II had on American society.

The exhibit will spotlight the talented illustrators and graphic artists who created these posters for government agencies. A partial list includes Norman Rockwell, James Montgomery Flagg, N.C. Wyeth, Ben Shahn, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Stevan Dohanos, Herbert Matter, and Leo Lionni. The exhibit will also feature special displays that relate the stories behind some of the best-known posters. These include J. Howard Miller’s famous “We Can Do It” poster with the figure of “Rosie the Riveter”, Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” posters, and James Montgomery Flagg’s enduring image of Uncle Sam proclaiming “I Want You”.  Other special displays will explore how poster designers depicted the enemy, how their work reflected conflicting ideas about the changing roles of women, how African Americans were represented, and how the image and words of President Roosevelt became incorporated into memorable wartime posters. 

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Permanent Exhibit at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

The Roosevelt Library’s new permanent museum exhibits were recently installed with $6 million in private funds raised by the Roosevelt Institute, the Library’s private, non-profit partner.

The new exhibits tell the story of the Roosevelt presidency beginning in the depths of the Great Depression and continuing through the New Deal and World War II with an emphasis on both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with the American people.

Special interactives, immersive audio‐visual theaters, and rarely seen artifacts convey the dramatic story of the Roosevelt era as the Roosevelt Library brings a “New Deal to a New Generation.”

The new museum contains many interactive exhibits including touch screen experiences at the Oval Office Desk and FDR's Ford Phaeton. "Confront the Issues" are ten interactive touch screens strategically located throughout the exhibition that offer visitors the opportunity to explore digital "flipbooks"that contain documents, photographs, and excerpts from historians -- with multiple viewpoints -- related to controversial issues during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. Topics include "Japanese American Internment," FDR and the Holocaust," "FDR's Health," and "Did the New Deal Really Work?"

The new galleries feature two immersive Fireside Chat Environments. Each of these environments will have a radio and period furnishings, inviting visitors to sit and listen. After the Chat audio concludes, visitors can hear readings of actual letters -- representing a variety of opinions -- giving the visitor a chance to hear how Americans felt about the president’s leadership during the Depression and World War II. The 500 square foot Map Room exhibit recreates FDR’s secret White House Map Room. The walls within the room also feature projections of maps and timelines of key battles and decisions, as well as animations. Visitors can follow along with the maps just as FDR did, and understand the importance and context of his strategies.

At the center of the Map Room are six interactive tables featuring animation and videos, spotlights on key countries and meetings that took place during the war, and trivia quiz opportunities. It also displays memos, calendars, and multiple maps used by FDR and his military advisers.

“Behind the Scenes” provides visitors with an extraordinary opportunity to see large numbers of museum objects that don’t appear in the permanent exhibition. This special area of the new museum features storerooms with large glass viewing areas making it possible for visitors to get a special peek into the collections of the President and First Lady. Here, visitors can see FDR’s model ship collection, his 1936 Ford Phaeton (with hand-controls), Val-Kill furniture, family paintings and portraits, New Deal art and gifts of state.  

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Online Exhibit: Art of the New Deal

Art of the New Deal features a selection of New Deal art from the collections of the FDR Library. Click the link above or the image to the left to enter the online exhibit. 

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Traveling and Joint Exhibitions

The museum maintains an active program of traveling exhibitions. We also present joint exhibitions with other museums and libraries. Contact Supervisory Museum Curator Herman Eberhardt if you are interested in bringing one of our traveling exhibits to your institution.

Now Available:

This Great Nation Will Endure: Photographs of the Great Depression
Stauth Memorial Museum
Montezuma, Kansas
March 9-June 8, 2014

FDR: His Vision, Our Freedoms, Still Alive   |   Download the Exhibit Banners

Banners Along the Hudson: FDR's Hudson River Collections   |    Download the Exhibit Banners