The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, located in Washington DC, is part of National Malls and Memorial Parks, a unit of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 7.5 acre park is situated in the southwest quadrant of the city along the famous Tidal Basin. This Memorial, dedicated in 1997, is one of three Memorials along the Tidal Basin and is located along West Basin Drive Southwest. Each year, millions of visitors come to enjoy the national parks within the nation's capital. We invite you to explore the park's several rooms, listening to the water features, touching the bronze statues and feeling the granite stone walls. Visitors are encouraged to interact with all of the memorial elements. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, informative audio guides are available at the Information Center and Bookstore. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure or call 202-426-6841.
the black band is an image of a granite wall which takes up a third of the
brochure. The words Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want
and Freedom from Fear are carved into the stone. Underneath the granite wall is the main text and
a large photograph of the sculptures of Roosevelt and Fahlah. Each are presented
under their own sections.
At this bottom of the brochure is a three inch black band that spans its width. On the left is a quotation, in the center a small photograph and on the right text. Each are presented under their own sections.
IMAGE 1 of 3: Granite wall
DESCRIBING: A large, horizontal photograph, that covers a third of the front cover.
the top of the brochure is a large photograph of a granite
wall. The photograph spans the width of the brochure. Carved into the gray stone
are the words Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and
Freedom from Fear.
RELATED TEXT: In his 1941 State of the Union Address, as the nation
prepared for World War II, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt spelled out “Four Freedoms” as a reminder
of why Americans were fighting. From the days of his first
presidential campaign during the depths of the Great
Depression, Roosevelt spoke directly to the people. “I
pledge you, I pledge myself,” he said in his 1932 acceptance speech, “to a new deal for the American people.”
Four years later he proclaimed that “this generation of
Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” As president
from 1933–1945, he addressed the American people by
radio in what came to be known as fireside chats. Each idea,
each phrase was underscored by courage and optimism
that inspired no less in the people he served.
Long after Roosevelt’s death his own words call out from
the walls of his memorial as though he were somehow
present. Those who know FDR only as a historical figure
will recognize these words by their association with great
and catastrophic events. For those who lived through the
Roosevelt era, the words recall 12 years of personal
struggles and triumphs.
IMAGE 2 of 3: Sculptures of FDR and Fala
DESCRIBING: A large, horizontal photograph that covers half of the front cover.
A rectangular color photograph of the bronze statues of President Roosevelt and his dog, Fala, from the memorial.
On the right, the aged, or patinated, bronze sculpture of President Roosevelt is depicted with the President seated and gazing off into the distance while wrapped in a large cloak with a collar. The wrinkles on his face are prominently sculpted. The smooth cloak is closed at the top with straps. The ends of the straps are Celtic knots that are attached to the cloak. The President's hands stick out just under the closure. His right hand is on top of his left hand. His left hand, which has a signet ring on the pinkie finger, is resting on the arm of his wheelchair. The arm is barely seen other than the decorative curvature of the handle. Below his hands, the cloak opens to show his pant-covered left knee, lower leg and his closed toed shoe. Behind the collar of the cloak, you can see the top of his chair. The President's knee is a bright bronze where the patina has been rubbed off.
Slightly off to the side of his foot is a detailed statue of his black Scottish terrier, Fala. While the majority of the bronze statue is patinated, the top of Fala's head, ears and nose are a bright bronze.
CAPTION: Sculptures of FDR and Fala by Neil Estern
IMAGE 3 of 3: FDR statue in a wheelchair
DESCRIBING: A small, square photograph.
The square photograph shows a light-skinned female park ranger with a ponytail in her NPS ranger hat and green uniform with a group of visitors. They are outside in front of a gray stone wall at the FDR memorial, surrounding a bronze statue of President Roosevelt seated in his wheelchair near the center of the image. The park ranger is on the right side of the image standing next to the statue. Both the ranger and the statue are angled toward the left of the image where the other visitors are located. The group of visitors include, from left to right, a light-skinned male in a wheelchair, a dark-skinned woman standing holding a very young dark-skinned child with a pacifier, and a light-skinned woman in a wheelchair next to the statue holding a yellow purse.
“Franklin’s illness . . . gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons—infinite patience and never-ending persistence.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
RELATED TEXT: FDR triumphed on the world stage from a wheelchair—as United States president and as a founding father of the United Nations. At age 39 he contracted polio and would never walk another step without assistance. He spent each day of his 12-year presidency in a wheelchair. One of this nation’s greatest leaders, FDR’s determination and courage remain an inspiration for people around the world, especially for those with disabilities.
The back of the brochure has two black and white historical photos of FDR, two colored modern day photos, and a map of the memorial site. The photos and map are interspaced between texts that include a brief history of FDR and the memorial as well as information about your visit. The map is a watercolor artist’s rendering and shows a simplified bird’s eye view of the memorial. The five rooms and the bookstore are the only items labeled.
IMAGE 1 of 4: Group of world leaders
DESCRIBING: A medium, horizontal photograph in black and white.
above and to the right of the text, is a horizontal black and white photograph
of Winston Churchill, Franklin Dehluhno Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at the 1945
Yalta Conference. All three are sitting next to each other and looking away
from the camera. Churchill is wearing a light colored knee length peacoat. The peacoat’s wide collar is folder over on one
side and three large buttons are visible in the center of the coat. His left and right forearms are resting on the
metal edges of his chair. His right hand is closed and he holds a black fur hat in his left. Churchill wears a lopsided grin upon his
plump face which highlights his large cheekbones. The top of his head is bald
and only a small amount of hair is visible above his right ear. Sitting next to Churchill is Roosevelt. He is
wearing a long black cloak, held together by a braided cord, over a light colored
suit. His right hand is resting just above his knee and he holds a lit
cigarette in his left. Roosevelt’s face is gaunt and bags are visible
underneath his right eye. His light colored hair is swept high off his
forehead. Sitting next to Roosevelt is Stalin. He is wearing a full length
military overcoat with a turned down collar, shoulder boards and collar tabs. A
peaked military visor cap with a braided cord and cockade sits atop his head. A
small patch of neatly combed hair is visible just above his right ear. He has a well trimmed mustache and a calm
expression upon his face. Standing behind them, are men wearing various
military uniforms. A building with arched entryways is visible in the
Churchill, FDR, and
Joseph Stalin at Yalta
CREDIT: AP/Wide World
IMAGE 2 of 4: FDR with Fahlah and Ruthie Bie
DESCRIBING: A small, vertical photograph in black and white.
Black and white photo of Franklin Dehluhno Roosevelt, in his senior years sitting outside on a stone porch in a wheelchair. FDR is dressed in a dark fitted suit, light dress shirt and dark tie. He has thin framed oval glasses on and very dark shiny dress shoes. His hair is full but gray/white and wrinkles are visible on his face. FDR is holding his small shaggy haired dark colored dog, Fahlah, on his lap while looking down and to his left at a little girl around 4 years old named Ruthie Bie who is petting his dog with one hand. Ruthie Bie, a light skinned girl is wearing a dark pleated dress, socks up to her calves and dark polished dress shoes. Her light colored, almost chin length hair is worn down, slightly tousled and being held away from her face with a small barrette.
CAPTION: FDR, his dog
Fala, and Ruthie Bie,
granddaughter of the
caretaker of Hill Top
retreat at Hyde Park,
CREDIT: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
IMAGE 3 of 4: Microphone
DESCRIBING: A small, cutout photograph.
the right of the text is a cut out image of a microphone President Roosevelt
used to deliver his fireside chats. The image is turned slightly to the right. A rectangular arched metal plate and two thin
vertical plates are attached to the top and sides of a round microphone. NBC is
painted in gold on each of the three plates. The microphone is attached to a
short round stand which has an ornate wavy pattern carved around the base.
CAPTION: FDR used this
microphone to address the nation from
the White House in
his fireside chats.
CREDIT: Smithsonian Institution
IMAGE 4 of 4: Inaugural ribbon
DESCRIBING: A small, cutout photograph.
Lying against the base of the microphone stand is a round inaugural button. The button features a head and shoulders photograph of Roosevelt with a red, white and blue ribbon attached at the base. A small plastic donkey, suspended from a string, sits on top of the ribbon.
CREDIT: Smithsonian Institution
1882 Born January 30, Hyde Park, N.Y.
1904 Graduates from Harvard University; enters Columbia Law School.
1905 Marries Anna Eleanor Roosevelt; five surviving children born 1906–1916.
1911–13 State Senator, New York.
1913–20 Assistant Secretary of the Navy; U.S. involved in World War One , 1917–18.
1920 Democratic nominee for Vice President; Cox-Roosevelt ticket loses.
1921 Contracts polio at Campobello summer home in Canada; never again walks unaided.
1928–32 Governor of New York.
1929 Onset of Great Depression. By early
1930s, about 30 percent of U.S. work force
1933–45 Elected 32nd president of the United States. In “First 100 Days” FDR initiates New Deal programs to provide immediate relief, create jobs, and foster economic recovery. He leads reform efforts in civil rights, labor relations, banking, and civil service; creates the Social Security Administration in 1935.
1939 World War II breaks out in Europe. FDR signs Lend-Lease Act in 1941 to aid Allied powers. U.S. enters war in December 1941; FDR launches nationwide war effort, sends more than 16 million U.S. troops to war.
1944 After serving an unprecedented third term, FDR is elected to a fourth term.
1945 Dies at Warm Springs, GA., April 12,
age 63; Allied forces victorious by August.
DESCRIBING: A medium, horizontal illustration of the memorial layout from above. Many items mentioned are described in full detail elsewhere in the brochure including the Breadline statue and the statue of President Roosevelt and his dog, Fahlah.
The horizontal rectangular watercolor artist rendering gives an aerial three dimensional perspective of the FDR Memorial. The watercolor shows the Memorial sited along the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. It includes the pale green grassy setting of the open space west of the memorial as well as flower beds and trees planted throughout the memorial. The tree foliage is painted a darker green than the grass. Some trees are painted in either a dark or light shade of pink, including the trees lining the Tidal Basin walkway indicating the cherry trees are in peak bloom. Flowers are painted in reds and oranges. The Memorial stands out in this natural setting with a cream color used to show the Memorial's pavement. Other walkways and drives that are not part of the Memorial are painted black. A curving walkway follows the edge of the Tidal Basin with its light blue painted water. Light blue is also used to show water features within the Memorial. The map labels the spaces and important features within the Memorial in black typeface.
The map moves you from the arrival point at the north end of the memorial, on the right side of the image, right to left through a series of five outdoor spaces referred to as Rooms. The main four rooms are simply named Rooms One through Four with the numbers spelled out. Each of these rooms represents a presidential term, while the first room of the Memorial is known as the Prologue Room and serves as an introductory space to the rest of the Memorial.
At the far right of the image, the north side of the memorial, a semi circular drive, known as the Ceremonial Circle connects to the park road. Arriving from the circle, visitors enter the site in the Prologue Room. This room is separated from the other rooms by a granite wall that reads Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States, 1933 to 1945, although the inscription is not visible in the illustration. In this room the Information Center and Bookstore is located to your far left, or east, and a statue of President Roosevelt in a wheelchair is to your right, or west. Past the granite wall is Room One.
Next in this description is the brochure’s related text. After that, an extended description of the memorial and each of its rooms is provided. This extended description and information is not included in the print brochure but may be helpful to orient you to the memorial during your visit.
CREDIT: NPS/Architectural rendering derivative
RELATED TEXT: The Franklin Dehluhno Roosevelt Memorial is one of the more expansive memorials in the nation. Yet its shade trees, waterfalls, statuary, and quiet alcoves create the feeling of a secluded garden rather than an imposing structure. The memorial’s five outdoor rooms include a Prologue Room and and one for each of FDR’s terms in office. The rooms are defined by walls of red South Dakota granite and by ornamental plantings; quotations from FDR are carved into the granite. Water cascades and quiet pools are present throughout. Each room conveys in its own way the spirit of this great man. A statue of Roosevelt in a wheelchair, located in the Prologue Room, depicts the physical disability that defined F D R’s character and inspired his leadership. A sculpture of the presidential seal is mounted inside the entryway. Room One introduces F D R’s early presidency, when he launched the New Deal in response to the worst economic crisis of the century. A relief sculpture depicts his first inauguration. In Room Two, sculptural groups—an urban breadline, a rural couple, and a man listening to a fireside chat—recall both the despair and the hope of the times. New Deal social and economic programs are depicted in bronze panels. A grassy berm between Rooms Two and Three represents the historical point at which Roosevelt and the nation confronted World War II. In Room Three, Roosevelt appears as a seated figure with his beloved dog Fahlah sitting nearby. Room Four honors the life and legacy of FDR. A sculptural relief of Roosevelt’s funeral cortege hangs in an alcove. The statue of Eleanor Roosevelt commemorates her role as First Lady, as well as her later work as United Nations delegate and champion for human rights. Inscribed in the plaza steps, a timeline chronicles important events from the extraordinary life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
EXTENDED DESCRIPTION: Room One is a spacious rectangular open space with clusters of trees and a large stone planter. In the northwest corner is a water feature. From this room, visitors may continue to Room Two from the walkway in the northeast corner or leave the Memorial to reach the Tidal Basin by taking a perpendicular path on the eastern edge of the memorial via a stepped walkway. There is a curved sloping walkway to the right or south of the steps that is wheelchair accessible.
Room Two has two sections divided by a granite wall, with access to the second section on the east and west ends of the wall. There are two sculpture groups along the north side of the granite wall and a sculpture of a seated figure in an alcove along the west side of the section. A plant bed with trees is in the center of this section. The second section of Room Two is filled with an outdoor sculpture consisting of four pillars in two staggered columns of two. Along the south side of the granite dividing wall are bronze panels with bas relief sculpture. In the southwest corner of this section is another water feature. The path to Room Three is along the east side of this section through a transitional space. There is a small water feature in the southwest corner just before you enter Room Three. After the water feature, take care to maneuver around the granite blocks piled up in the eastern part of the entrance to this room.
Room Three has a large water feature along the west wall. The granite block structure in the entrance work in conjunction with the side wall of this water feature to represent the chaos and destruction of war. The granite wall reads, in part, I have seen war, I hate war. The blocks are the same wall now broken in pieces on the ground with the words from the wall extant. Next to the water feature in the southwest corner is the statue of President Roosevelt with his dog, Fahlah. The path to Room Four is along the eastern side of the room. If you would like to exit to the Tidal Basin, keep to the eastern edge of the memorial to arrive at a stepped walkway heading east. There is also a curved sloped walkway to the Tidal Basin that is wheelchair accessible heading southeast.
Room Four is the largest of the Rooms. There is a sunken area in the center to create an amphitheater like setting with clusters of trees planted on top. The second level of this room can be reached by ramps on the north and south ends of the room. There are also a series of four steps engraved on their west facing edges with timelines of President Roosevelt's presidency which can also be used as seating for Ranger Programs. At the base of the northern ramp is a still pool water feature with a bas relief sculpture above it along the western wall. Once within the amphitheater, there is a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in a raised alcove in the northwest corner honoring her work with the United Nations. To the south of Mrs. Roosevelt is a very large water feature that takes up the southwest corner of the room. The back wall of the water feature wraps around to become the side of the south ramp leading out of the room and the Memorial.
At the southeastern edge of the Memorial, you have several options. To your right, a straight path leads south, off the image, to the Inlet Bridge leading to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. In front of you is the path leading to the Tidal Basin. This path splits into two options as well. If you continue straight, there is a stepped path or to your right, there is a curved path that trails off the image.
DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal photograph.
Rectangular colored photo of upper portion of sculpture located in Room Two at FDR memorial. The sculpture reproduces a common 1930s depression era scene of out of work American men standing in a bread line. Sculpted out of bronze, the sculpture specifically shows four men, lined up against a brick wall and next to each other as they wait for food. Each man is wearing a heavy coat, bucket hat, and frown on their face. Going from left to right the first man in line is shorter, barely visible, only his head, hat and collar of his coat. The next man is the tallest in line and is at a slight angle to the right and seen from the waist up. His hands are tucked in his pocket as he gazes forward and down. The third man, slightly shorter is shown the same stance but is noticeably thinner and the last man and shortest is shown with hunched shoulders and his hands tucked into his armpits.
CAPTION: George Segal’s sculpture of a 1930s breadline, in Room Two, shows the literal and figurative hunger that many Americans felt in the Depression years.
CREDIT: Carol Highsmith
RELATED TEXT: The Franklin Dehluhno Roosevelt Memorial Commission, established by Congress in 1955, invited designers to look to “the character and work of Franklin Dehluhno Roosevelt” for a memorial “that will do him the honor he deserves and transmit his image to future generations.” Not until May 1997 would the memorial take its place among other presidential monuments in Washington DC. Designed by Lawrence Halprin, the memorial incorporates work by prominent American artists Leonard Baskin, Neil Estern, Robert Graham, Thomas Hardy, and George Segal, as well as master stonecarver John Benson.
The memorial stands in West Potomac Park, between the Tidal Basin and Potomac River. An information area and bookstore are at the front entrance. Park rangers are available daily except December 25. The memorial is wheelchair-accessible.
is a top priority for National Mall and Memorial Parks. Many of our facilities
are historic and accessibility is not always ideal. However, we are always
working to improve accessibility. We have established a parkwide Accessibility
Coordinator. Your comments on accessibility areas for improvement are always
Sign Language: ASL
interpretation is available upon request at no charge. Please email us at National_Mall@nps.gov at least
three weeks prior to your visit to make arrangements.
Wheelchairs: All the major monuments and memorials are wheelchair accessible. There are a limited number of loaner wheelchairs available upon request on a first-come, first-served basis at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Visitors to the memorial are encouraged to touch and interact with all of the elements including the sculptures.