Nothing like a birthday bash to bring out big crowds. More than 600 people toured President Wilson's Museum and Library by 2:00 Tuesday, which topped attendance for last year's celebration.
The library cut a birthday cake in honor of Staunton's hometown president. The museum and manse were decked out for a Victorian era Christmas. Visitors got a chance to tour the World War One trenches, a new exhibit that opened this year, and costumed interpreters re-told stories from Woodrow Wilson's childhood and presidency.
Museum directors were surprised by the number of kids that came through Tuesday and they say that's encouraging to keep Wilson's history alive. President & CEO of the Wilson Library Don Wilson explained, "In this day and age where we need civility in politics, we need understanding of civic health in our nation. This is the message that I think needs to be brought home very strongly to the young people to make them good citizens."
As a generous birthday present, guests on Tuesday got to celebrate Wilson's 154th birthday for free.
This has been a successful year for the Wilson birthplace and museum despite a tough economy and having to cutback its budget by a third over the past two years. In addition, visitor numbers were up significantly over this past summer vacation season.