To honor the centennial of World War I, the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum will host a series of unique dining experiences throughout the summer and fall. The “Allied Dinner Series” features specialty-prepared cuisine and a brief presentation on an allied nation during World War I. The first of the dinner series will be Russia on July 14th followed by the United Kingdom on August 4th, France on September 22nd, and Italy on October 27th. The events will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Bolling Wilson Hotel in Downtown Wytheville. To purchase tickets, visit the events' webpage.
Born and raised in Wytheville, Virginia, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson served as First Lady to President Woodrow Wilson from 1915-1921. During her role as First Lady, Mrs. Wilson made multiple contributions to the war effort by rationing goods, volunteering, and placing a flock of sheep on the White House lawn in an effort to alleviate groundskeepers for war-time duties. The wool, named “White House Wool”, was auctioned and raised nearly $100,000 for the American Red Cross war effort. Mrs. Wilson frequently travelled abroad with her husband, President Wilson, as he lobbied for world peace. She attended the Paris Peace Conferences with Wilson and other leaders of the Allied Nations.
The Allied Dinner Series is funded in part by a grant from the Virginia World War I and World War II Tourism Marketing Program. Additional promotional support is provided by The Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission, Downtown Wytheville, The Bolling Wilson Hotel, Graze on Main, and the Wytheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum is located at 145 E. Main Street, Wytheville, VA 24382, and is open to the public Tuesday - Friday 10-4, Saturday 10-2. It currently has two exhibitions on display on the Great War.
The museum's Annual First Lady’s Tea was held at the Bolling Wilson Hotel on Sunday, May 20, 2018 as a fundraiser for the museum. The speaker for the event was the former First Lady of Virginia, Susan Allen. Mrs. Allen served the Commonwealth of Virginia alongside her husband, George Allen, during his tenures as Virginia Delegate, Member of Congress in the House and Senate, and as Governor of Virginia. She promoted Virginia as a primer tourist destination and worked on women’s health and wellness issues, including breast cancer awareness and fitness. Susan serves on many charitable boards and is enjoying her role as Chairman of the Virginia Capitol Foundation. She is an author of a bestselling children’s book, The Remarkable Ronald Reagan and spends time speaking to groups about politics and history. Allen spoke at the event about how the First Ladies of the United States, including Edith Bolling Wilson, served as role models for women’s rights, leadership, and empowerment.
The First Lady’s Tea offered an afternoon of specialty teas, decadent finger sandwiches, and elegant desserts prepared by local bakers and Graze on Main. Guests were served by gracious hostesses who decorated their tables with their own personal china. This year’s hostesses were Lisa Alderman, Carolyn Armentrout, Joyce Covey, Janie Hardin, Bev Hoch, Jane Lacy, Ellen McDaniel, and Kirstie Smith.
The First Lady herself portrayed by Mrs. Betsy Ely welcomed guests and shared her story of becoming First Lady. Attendees enjoyed socializing at the Tea and could be seen wearing beautiful spring hats (much like at the Royal wedding) and pearls. First Lady Edith Wilson was often seen wearing her signature pearls and stylish hats at events while promoting the work of her husband, President Woodrow Wilson. P.R. Sturgill Fine Jewelry graciously donated a strand of the ‘First Lady Pearls’ to be auctioned to benefit the museum. Jen Otey and the Rose Cottage School of Art provided beautiful paper flowers and paintings created by the school’s students and instructors. These items were auctioned to benefit both organizations. Museum volunteer, Frank Repass, served as auctioneer for the Tea.
Sponsors for the First Lady’s Tea were: Alderman Management, Mrs. Ruth Anne Chitwood, Dr. Kay Dunkley, Bill and Farron Smith, the Bolling Wilson Hotel, Graze on Main Restaurant, and the Rose Cottage School of Art. Additional support was provided by About Face, the Barter Theatre, BoJangles, Cedar Bay, Hao Chau, Draper Golf Club, the Farmer Daughter, Fort Chiswell Animal Park, Flourz, Edward Jones, Mary Cassell, Nu-Creation Aesthetics, Patricia BeCraft, Petals of Wytheville, Mary Repass, Susan Allen, Thornsrpings Golf Club, Three Rivers Media, Sabika, Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs, Wytheville Golf Club and Wytheville Office Supply.
Because of the generosity of friends of the museum and the community, the First Lady’s Tea was a success and the event contributed toward sustaining the vibrant educational programs of the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation.
In-season Hours (March-December)
Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Off-season Hours (January - February)
Thursday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
145 E. Main St., Wytheville, VA 24382
The museum is located downtown across from the Bolling Wilson Hotel.
Entry to the museum is by donation. Guided tours of the Birthplace and Bolling Family Home are $5 for adults and $3 for children.