This past weekend, we celebrated Edith Bolling Wilson’s 145th Birthday by hosting two very special events.
On Saturday, the museum welcomed eighty guests to the opening of the new exhibition, "World War I: From Wytheville to the White House...and Abroad.” This exhibition serves to present the First Lady in a scholarly-light by detailing her participation in and contributions to America’s effort in World War I. Throughout the day, special VIP tours were given, including a talk by exhibition advisor Dr. Lynn Rainville, a historian who specializes in Virginia’s role in World War I.
An Orchid Blooms
The following day over 175 guests gathered at Loretto, one of Wytheville’s finest historic homes, to honor the life and legacy of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson. The event served as the official release party for a new hybrid Cattleya propagated by Chadwick and Son and named after the First Lady. On display at Loretto, was a pop-up exhibit of twenty-five watercolor paintings of local historic homes, created by local artist Beth Pendleton over the past thirty years. The distillery A. Smith Bowman sponsored a bourbon tasting bar (Mrs. Wilson was known to occasionally partake of Bowman’s). The President and Mrs. Wilson were also in attendance (portrayed by Betsy Ely and Jim Gearhart).
We thank everyone involved for making Edith Bolling Wilson’s 145th birthday so special!
Please note that the Run For Peace has been cancelled.
To commemorate the centennial of the United States’s involvement in World War I and to recognize our veterans, the Edith Bolling Wilson Museum will host a Run for Peace on November 11, 2017.
One hundred years ago, while Edith Bolling Wilson was serving as First Lady, the United States entered World War I. Edith Bolling Wilson promoted her husband’s vision for peace, set an example for homefront conservation movements, and supported Allied troops. Through this work, Edith Bolling Wilson became the mother of modern First Ladies as she focused more on politics and social issues rather than serving as a traditional White House hostess.
The Run for Peace is a part of the museum's programming for the current exhibition “World War I: From Wytheville to the White House... and Abroad,” which focuses on the leadership and contributions of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson during the war.
The Run for Peace 5K Run/Walk will be held in Rural Retreat, Virginia at 9:00 am starting at the Emergency Services Building, adjacent to the Rural Retreat Wall of Honor. The event is open to all ages. Veterans will receive free registration and will be recognized for their service during a short program after the race. President and Mrs. Wilson, portrayed by Jim Gearhart and Betsy Ely, will be special guests and will greet runners as they cross the finish line.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as a holiday to commemorate the Armistice signed the year before. Wilson stated: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." Today, Veterans Day honors all of those who served in the Armed Forces.
The Run for Peace supports the Edith Bolling Wilson Museum’s educational programs and future restoration of the Bolling Home. Registration is open to the public. For more information or to register, visit edithbollingwilson.org/runforpeace.
One hundred years ago, Edith Bolling Wilson accepted an invitation to become the first Honorary President of the Girl Scouts. She was given this title by Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low, who started the scouting group five years earlier in Savannah, Georgia. Both Wilson and Low worked to support scouting service efforts nationwide in support of World War I. Girl Scouts tended to Victory Gardens, sold Liberty Bonds, worked alongside the US Food Administration, and volunteered for the American Red Cross.
The Girl Scouts of America was established on March 12, 1912, by Juliette Gordon Low during the Progressive Era, a time when women in the United States could not vote. Low's first troop of 18 girls took part in a new outdoor and educational program for youth, which blazed trails and redefined what was possible for themselves and for girls everywhere.
This week, the Girl Scouts of America will host a three day conference in Columbus, Ohio. ‘G.I.R.L. 2017’ offers sessions for every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who wants to stand up, take charge, and change the world, for her and for all of us.
As a part of the new G.I.R.L. initiative, the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace will revise program offerings for Girl Scouts, with a new jewelry badge program for Juniors launching this month. Check out more programs for every G.I.R.L. at our Girl Scouts Program Page.
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.