Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here we provide answers to your questions about the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. Questions are organized by topic. Please click the topic that most interests you or scroll down to view all of the FAQs.
Table of Contents:
What are your hours, and how do I get there?
The Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily from April-October and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily from September-March. The Archives research room is open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please visit Hours & Admission and Map & Directions for more details.
I'm coming from out of town. Where should I stay and eat?
Hyde Park is a village located in New York State’s historic Hudson Valley region. There is so much to see and do in this area that we recommend exploring the online resources available through the Dutchess County Tourism website. There you’ll find information about places to stay, restaurants and other attractions in the area.
How is the Roosevelt Library different from the Home of FDR?
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. FDR gave the land on which the Library is built to the National Archives in 1939, and the Library was opened to the public in 1941. It is the only presidential library used by a sitting president since FDR worked in his Study in the Library when he came to Hyde Park during his Third and Fourth Terms. In accordance with his wishes, several hundred acres of the Roosevelt Estate that surround the Library were given to the National Park Service by the Roosevelt Family after the President’s death in 1945. This land, now adminstered by the National Park Service as the Home of FDR National Historic Site, includes the Roosevelt home known as Springwood as well as the Rose Garden where FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt and Fala are buried. The two agencies work closely together to ensure that visitors to Hyde Park have a rich and full experience. In 2004, the National Archives and Records Administration opened the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center to the public. This facility enhances the visitor orientation experience, simplifies ticketing operations and provides comfort facilities, including a seasonal café, restrooms, and a museum store. Please read About the Library to learn more about our Library's history.
How is a presidential library different from my local library?
A presidential library has many missions. Through the Library’s Archives, we make our extensive archival collections, including personal papers, books, photographs, and audio and film recordings, accessible to the researching public. Our Museum tells the story of the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. And we offer a variety of Education and Public Programs that bring the world of the Roosevelts to student groups and visitors of all ages. To learn more about the National Archives' Presidential Library system, please visit What is a Presidential Library?
How can I volunteer or intern at the Library and Museum?
Volunteers, docents and interns are an important part of the Roosevelt Library team. Please visit our Get Involved! page to learn about volunteer and internship opportunities.
How can I give financial support for the Library?
Thank you for your interest in donating to the FDR Library. Please see Donate for more information.
How can I donate an object to the Museum?
Please Contact the Museum if you would like to donate your Roosevelt era objects to the FDR Library. Please have ready a description of the object(s), history of ownership and, if possible, photographs. Under no circumstances should you mail any object to the Museum (or leave any object at the Museum) without first contacting the staff.
Can you tell me how much my Franklin Roosevelt related object is worth?
The Museum does not provide appraisals of objects. We suggest you contact an appraiser or antique dealer in your area. Your local phone book should provide you with the names of local appraisers and antique dealers, or you can try the following web sites:
1131 SW 7th St Suite 105
Renton, WA 98055
555 Herndon Parkway, Suite 125
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone: (703) 478-2228
Fax: (703) 742-8471
386 Park Avenue South, Suite 2000
New York, NY 10016
A member of my family once sent a gift to President Roosevelt/First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt — is it in your collection?
Like all presidents, FDR was the recipient of many gifts from admiring members of the public. During the 1930s and 1940s, presidents were free to handle these gifts in any way they chose. President Roosevelt sometimes gave gift items to friends or family members. But often, he donated gifts to his presidential library. If so, the item is preserved in the Museum collection. We also have a more limited number of gift items sent to Eleanor Roosevelt. If you are interested in finding out whether a particular gift item is in the Museum collection, send a letter of inquiry through Ask the Museum, or to the general Museum email account: Museum.FDR@nara.gov. (See Contact Us for postal mailing address). Please include as much information as possible about the gift item, including a general description, the name of the person who sent the gift to the President, and (if possible) the month and/or year when the gift was sent/presented. Your letter/email will be answered within (10) ten business days.
Can I purchase a photograph of an object in the Museum collection?
Photographs of objects in the Museum collection are available for purchase. Please Contact Us by mail, email, fax, or telephone to order.
What are the research room's hours of operation?
The research room is open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We are closed on weekends and Federal holidays. As of Friday, April 26, 2013, the Roosevelt Library succesfully returned all of its archival collections to the renovated Library building. All materials that have been stored off-site since 2010 are now back at the Library and available to researchers. We appreciate the patience of all of our researchers throughout the project.
Who can do research at the Roosevelt Library?
Our research room is open to anyone who may find our holdings useful. We welcome students working on History Day projects and term papers, graduate students working on theses and dissertations, academic scholars and professors, genealogists, the media, and anyone else who has specific questions or a general interest in the Roosevelts and the Roosevelt era. No letters of recommendation or references are required. We encourage younger student researchers to bring a parent or teacher with them.
What kinds of research materials are available at the Library?
The Library's archival collections include approximately 400 unique manuscript collections totalling over 17 million pages and 150,000 photographs, sound recordings, and motion picture film. Among our manuscript holdings are the President's personal and family papers, papers covering his public career at the state and national level, papers of Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as the papers of many of their associates in public and private life. There are also 50,000 books covering the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, including FDR's personal book collection of over 22,000 volumes. Please begin your research at Search Our Collections.
Is all of your archival material available online?
The Library is committed to making its historical materials as widely accessible as possible. Several thousand digitized documents and public domain photographs are currently available online through Search Our Collections. Additionally, the Finding Aids to our 400 manuscript collections and our Book Catalog are online and keyword searchable. We look forward to providing even more online resources in the coming years.
Can I check out the books in your library like I can in my local library?
Our book collections are non-circulating, meaning that they cannot be checked out. However, the books can be used in our research room. And our online Book Catalog can provide you the information you need to find the volume elsewhere through your own local library's interlibrary loan program. The Library does loan oral history transcripts, finding aids to manuscript collections, and selected microfilms.
Do I have to come in person to use the Library?
Because of the scope of our holdings, an in person visit is usually recommended. However, several thousand digitized documents and public domain photographs are currently available online through Search Our Collections. Additionally, the Finding Aids to our 400 manuscript collections and our Book Catalog are online and keyword searchable. If you would like more information about our holdings related to a particular topic, we encourage you to Contact the Archives. We can then advise you whether the scope of your research project might require an in person visit, or whether we can assist you by providing photocopies of materials you identify through your research. When you are ready to search for archival materials at our repository, we recommend beginning with Search Our Collections.
Should I call ahead before coming in for research?
We are always happy to learn of your research visit, but no prior appointment is required. We encourage you to cmoplete your Researcher Application in advance and bring it with you, as this will expedite the registration process.
Can I arrange to have materials waiting for me when I get there?
You do not need to provide us a list ahead of time of the materials in which you are interested. There are four set "pull" times per day when archival materials can be retrieved on your behalf. These times are as follows: 9:15 A.M., 11:00 A.M., 2:00 P.M., and 3:45 P.M. We recommend arriving far enough ahead of a given pull time to both register and effectively identify the materials of interest to you. It only takes a few minutes to pull materials once you have placed the order. We do not do pre-pulls prior to your arrival.
Will there be someone to help me find what I'm looking for?
Yes. There is always an archivist on duty in the research room to assist you with your research needs. The archivist will help orient you to research room procedures and assist you with your search for archival material. Read about our Research Services to learn more. To ensure you make the best use of your time here, we recommend that you search our online Finding Aids beforehand.
Will I be allowed to handle the original documents?
In most cases, researchers are served original materials. However, some materials have been retired from reference service because of their fragility or instrinsic value. Preservation photocopies have been substituted in their place so that a researcher will still be able to read the documents in their correct context.
How can I make copies of the documents I find during my research visit?
Limited self-service copying is available on copiers located in the research room. You can also ask the Library staff to make copies for you. See Photocopies and Reproductions for more information. We permit the use of digital cameras in the research room to make images of the documents as long as no flash is used and the documents are handled properly.
What can I bring with me into the research room?
For the safety and security of our collections, the Library has a "clean research room" policy. This means that with the exception of your laptop, one or two pages of notes, and your digital camera, no other personal belonging are permitted in the research room. This includes notebooks, pads, books, laptop cases, purses, bookbags, coats and hats. We also do not permit the use of pens in the research room. Lockers are provided for your personal belongings. We also will provide you with pencils, note paper, and index cards to use during your research. All items brought into the room and taken from the room must be presented to the archivist on duty for inspection.
Do you provide wireless internet access in the research room?
The Library is not yet equipped with wireless communications. However, there is a public access computer in the research room that you can use to check your e-mail and do online research.
How should I cite archival materials when I write my paper?
Please see Citation & Copyright for more detailed information and examples of citations.
Are there grants available to support my research?
The Roosevelt Institute provides small grants annually to support research at the Library. Go to our Research Grants page to learn more about applying for a grant.
Where should I start my research for a school project?
Depending on the complexity of your topic, you may wish to jump right into searching our collections. But if you are still exploring your topic and looking for basic information, please visit the part of our website designed For Students to find information about the Roosevelts, the Great Depression, World War II, and more. There you will also find helpful project ideas and reading lists. Remember, the more background information you have, the better you'll be able to find and use primary sources in the archives!
**Please see Plan a Field Trip to read details about bringing your students to the FDR Library
What is the role of the teacher and chaperone?
Teachers and chaperones are responsible for the care and conduct of students at all times and will be actively engaged in supervising and assisting their students and our staff in the program presentations. To minimize disturbances and aid in instruction, we prefer your group to have one teacher/chaperone for every ten students.
How should I prepare my students for the day's programs and activities?
In addition to discussing the rules mentioned below, students should be prepped for their programs by reviewing any pre-visit material that might have been sent to your class. Additional information concerning President and Mrs. Roosevelt, and the Roosevelt Presidential Library, can be found on our website on the Education pages.
What should we do about lunch?
Due to space and time considerations, there is no place on site for students to purchase lunch. We suggest that students bring bag lunches and eat them on the bus. Use of a tent with picnic tables (limited to approximately 90 students, and used only in warm weather) can be arranged on a first come-first served basis.
What about the Museum Store?
The New Deal Store is located in the Wallace Center. Students are welcome to shop but must be accompanied by chaperones.