Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Warm Springs and Georgia Journeys


View of Georgia Journeys with FDR's Georgia mini-exhibit on the right
After working for the past year on a new permanent exhibit, Georgia Journeys, at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education, Matt and I took a weekend break for our anniversary (and babymoon). We traveled an hour and half southwest of Atlanta to Warm Springs, home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Little White House. There, he regained his confidence as he worked to coax life back into his polio-paralyzed limbs in the 1920s, inspired his "companions" and neighbors in the 1930s while honing the New Deal, and ultimately passed away, exhausted, in 1945.
Little White House, Warm Springs

Warm Springs is definitely a pilgrimage site for Roosevelt enthusiasts. It is also an ever-aspiring tourist town, and home to the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation which includes a vocational rehab school as well as a more traditional facility for individuals recovering from traumatic injuries and illnesses. It is a place that is neither poor nor prosperous, and through that economic limbo, it maintains a timeless quality.

FDR State Park, Office built by the CCC
Historic Pools, Warm Springs
While in town, we enjoyed our stay at Hotel Warm Springs, visited the historic pools and Little White House museums, went for a brief hike at FDR State Park, and took a swim in a spring-fed pool at the rec center on the rehab facility campus.  The excitement of the swim in such buoyant waters was marred a bit by modern chlorination, but, in some ways, the use of chlorine is a legacy of all those years of polio research funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (March of Dimes).
Wilson Pools at the Rehab Center
Me seated in FDR's pew at the Rehab Center Chapel

The story of FDR in Georgia is not as well known as one might expect, but it begins to take on familiar dimensions, ones we reiterate in our Roosevelt mini-exhibit in Georgia Journeys. Beside the twelve stories of veterans, home front workers, and Holocaust survivors featured in the exhibit, FDR's becomes the thirteenth "journey."

Perhaps it will be worthwhile to include him eventually in the digital exhibit.  In the meantime, please enjoy the website which is now live: georgiajourneys.kennesaw.edu.

No comments: