Tracing the twelve-year window of history of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency this memorial covers 7.5 acres of land overlooking the Tidal Basin. It has four separate walled outdoor galleries, representing each term of FDR’s time in office, giving the memorial a more intimate feel than the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials. Found throughout the FDR memorial is the symbolic theme of “water” with increasingly larger waterfalls in each room, representing the turbulent waters of FDR’s presidency from the “drop” of the great depression to the Chaotic Falls representing WWII and the still pool representing FDR’s death.
Dedicated in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, and designed by Lawrence Halprin, the site also hosts a wide variety of sculptures from the president and his dog Fala (a Scottish terrier) to scenes of the Great Depression, bread lines, and First Lady Elanor Roosevelt with an emblem of the UN. Mirroring the president’s disability due to polio, and his use of a wheelchair, this is site was designed to be completely wheelchair accessible. There is a visitor’s center and gift store for those wishing either a guided tour, souvenirs, or more information about the memorial. The memorial is open daily from 8 am-midnight.