The exhibit titled “In the Nation’s Service? Woodrow Wilson Revisited” will be moved to the Frist Campus Center for its first stop as a part of a campus tour.
This exhibit, which displays both the positive and negative aspects of the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, class of 1879, was created in April 2016 by a partnership between Mudd Library and the Wilson School. It was previously housed in the Bernstein Gallery in the basement of the Wilson School.
The material of the exhibit will be the same after the move, according to Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day.
Day said that the decision to relocate the exhibit was made by administrators of the Wilson School and other University officials.
“They decided that it was well worth extending the exhibit’s run in other locations on campus to give as many members of the University as possible an opportunity to see it in person,” he explained.
The exhibit will be displayed in Frist Campus Center through the end of the month. The exhibit will then be moved to Chancellor Green, and then to 701 Carnegie Center. Other locations are being planned, according to Day.
According to Day, the original home of the exhibit in Bernstein Gallery is a permanent space for rotating exhibitions. The online exhibit will continue to be available, Day added.
Students reacted positively to the relocation of the exhibit.
Maya Aronoff ’19 said that she thought moving the exhibit to Frist is a very positive step.
“When the exhibit was in the basement of Robertson, only a portion of the student body was likely to come across it, whereas Frist is more centralized and the dialogue surrounding Woodrow Wilson’s legacy can be expanded to include everyone on campus,” she explained.
Aronoff added that the exhibit is important and goes a long way towards acknowledging the complicated history of the University and the nation as a whole.
According to Aronoff, the exhibit should not be treated as an end-all be-all solution for the controversy surrounding the major named after Woodrow Wilson, or racism on our campus as a whole.
“The exhibit is a step towards positive change and an addition to the important work students and faculty have already done and will continue to do, in order to fight for a more honest and welcoming university,” she said.
Ramzie Fathy ’20 said that placing the exhibit in Frist is “fitting” due to the Center’s popularity in between various classes throughout the day along with McGraw tutoring sessions at night.
“I don’t think I could think of a better location,” Fathy added. “In my opinion, the message as a whole is nothing short of informative and a benefit to the Princeton community.”
Liam O’Connor ’20 said that moving the exhibit to Frist will definitely elevate its profile.
“This exhibit helps us understand his complexity as a human being and how we should evaluate his legacy,” O’ Connor added, “Woodrow Wilson is a fascinating historical figure because of his strange dichotomy. He was a visionary leader for the University who transformed it into a premiere academic institution and led the country through a difficult period as the president. However, he was also very racist, even for that time. “
Fathy noted that he disagrees with the view that the ultimate recommendations about the Wilson School is a loss to groups who pushed for it to be renamed.
“The goal was to shed light on the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson, and the exhibit does just that. The goal was to make this school stop commemorating a man who once thought segregation was a benefit to society, and I think this is a big step towards accomplishing that goal,” Fathy said.
The exhibit was created after a campus-wide debate on the extent to which Wilson’s legacy should be commemorated following last November’s protests and sit-ins led by the Black Justice League.
Recently, a medallion with the inscription of the University’s updated informal motto, which was modified as a result of the protests, was also installed on front campus.