Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Photos Please, Except for the FDR Stable

Photos are not permitted inside the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home. When I asked our tour guide why, I was told photos of the home presented a risk to national security. Now, I did not want to press this nice lady or disrupt our 11:30 AM tour group, but this just sounded like baloney to me.

Surely, any sensitive government documents had long been removed. Any remaining technology to protect FDR in that era was surely antiquated. Photos and literature protected by copyright were noticeably absent from the house. So, why no photos? How could photos of FDR’s boyhood collection of stuffed birds present a risk?

Now, if our guide had told me photos hold up the tour or flashes damage the antiques, I might have thought she had a point. Maybe if my backpack had been searched before entering the homestead, I might have given credence to her reasoning. Can you tell this bother me throughout the tour?

I fell into stride with our guide when we exited the historic estate. I asked, “Are there any places where it is okay to photograph the interior?” She pointed to the stable.

The stable looked like a small cottage. Horses are no longer kept there. I found a park caretaker inside who willingly talked to me about this special little place. He seemed pleased that of all the visitors to the estate, someone was interested in the fine structure and its contents. I clicked photos of Eleanor Roosevelt’s glass encased winning ribbons, the tack room where bridles still hung, and the ornate hinges on her horses stalls. This place was just as much a national treasure to me as FDR’s Hyde Park home.

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