National Trust for Historic Preservation


Syrian Migration Series #1, 2016, archival pigment print, 1/20, courtesy of the artist.

Syrian Migration Series #14, 2016, archival pigment print, 1/20, courtesy of the artist.

Helen Zughaib: Migrations
May 23 – July 28, 2019

Opening Reception: June 7, 2019, 6pm

As part of the series Art at Wilson House: Wilson and the World, artist Helen Zughaib exhibits recent work throughout the historic Wilson House. Inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s 1941 seminal Migration Series, Zughaib’s Syrian Migration Series allows for an exploration of the contemporary consequences of the post WWI peace through the lens of the current Syrian conflict and the mass migration it has triggered. This exhibition is presented to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.


The Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I resulted in the creation of modern borders in the Middle East that have lasting effects on today’s geopolitics. Zughaib’s Syrian Migration Series seeks to refocus attention on the modern Syrian crisis and give voice to those affected, particularly the experience of women and children migrants and refugees. The series is an interpretation of Jacob Lawrence’s 1941 seminal Migration Series depicting the mass movement of African Americans from the Southern United States to points north and west.  Known as The Great Migration, this defining period in American history is ignited during President Wilson’s first term by the start of WWI and the demand for labor in urban centers and amplified by the political, social, and economic repression of African Americans in the South. The intersectionality of the Great Migration and the present-day Syrian migration reframes these domestic movements within a global context. The presentation of Zughaib’s work against the backdrop of the Woodrow Wilson House provokes a reexamination of Wilson’s international legacy in the contemporary sphere.

About the Artist

Helen Zughaib was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and holds a BFA from Syracuse University. Her work has been exhibited widely in the US, Europe, and Lebanon. Her paintings are included in many private and public collections, including the White House, World Bank, Library of Congress, US Consulate General, Vancouver, Canada, American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, and the DC Art Bank collection.  Zughaib’s paintings have been gifted to heads of state by President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  She currently lives in Washington, DC, and works fulltime as an artist. More About the Artist

This program is part of the Wilson House’s new interpretation focused on African American history, women’s history and Wilson’s international impact. The Woodrow Wilson House is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded, non-profit corporation, helping people protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. 

The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay
October 27, 2017 – April 2018

In the middle of the Potomac in Mallows Bay, lies the largest shipwreck fleet in the Western Hemisphere, a haunting legacy of WWI.  In April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson approved the greatest shipbuilding program in history: an order for 1,000 ships to make up the shortage of transport vessels needed for the war effort. The war ended before any ships were put into service and hundreds were simply scrapped in the Bay. This exhibit will explore the history of this “Ghost Fleet,” tell the stories behind a scandalous wartime boondoggle and highlight the rich archaeological and ecological treasure it has become today.

Past Exhibitions ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Woodrow Wilson and the Great War
Oct 4, 2018 – Nov 2, 2018

Closed Sept 30, 2017:
Images of the Great War: 1917-1918

World War I Prints and Drawings from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library – April 6 – September 12, 2017

The centennial of the US entry into World War I provides an opportunity to revisit the tragedy of this first global conflict and to reflect upon the suffering of mankind in the second decade of the 20th century. This selection of prints, drawings and watercolors offers personal impressions of the last two years of the conflict, depicting scenes of high drama and action set alongside images of pathos and deep sadness. Approximately 35 prints, drawings, paintings and watercolors by a range of artists depict WWI offensives after the Americans join the effort.

Closed March 12, 2017:
Evolving Elections: Comparing the 1916 and 2016 Presidential Campaigns

The exhibition connects the current presidential election to that of 100 years ago, showcasing similarities and differences between the two. Featuring 1916 campaign buttons and Woodrow Wilson’s unique election walking stick.

Exhibition closing on October 16:  “Preparedness, Peace, Prosperity”

Preparedness, Peace, Prosperity is an exploration of the lesser known accomplishments of Woodrow Wilson’s first term as president.  From buying Caribbean islands to establishing an 8-hour work day, Wilson helped change many aspects of American life which still affect us today. Exhibition will be on display at the President Woodrow Wilson House through the end of August. (On loan from the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton, VA)

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Closed September 30, 2015
War & Art: Destruction and Protection
of Italian Cultural Heritage during World War I

General War & Art Invitation 3

Photo: Photocinematographic  Dept. of the Italian Army, Paul Adams on the Journal visiting the Museum in Aquileia accompanied by the journalist Ugo Ojetti, 1916
Rome, Central Museum of Risorgimento

The First World War broke upon the world without precedent.  The tragedy involved not only human casualties but also the damage and destruction of cultural heritage, including works of art and architecture. This photographic exhibition illustrates the Italian people’s struggle to protect their cultural patrimony from the ravages of war.  Poignant images display efforts to sandbag and board up architectural and artistic treasures.  Prompted by the destruction of World War I, the League of Nations created the International Museum Office to oversee the protection of material culture in the global community.  One hundred years later, these photographs not only document early preservation efforts, but have also become works of art in their own right. They remind us of an enduring struggle that transcends time and cultures: to save the highest expressions of the human spirit from the destruction and savagery of war.

This exhibition has been organized by Istituto Per La Storia Del Risorgimento Italiano, Roma, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington D.C., with support from the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago.

“We very much wanted to bring these images to Washington, DC. To honor the memory and commitment of those who a century ago, as done today in many areas of conflict, defended beauty and culture from the horrors of devastation. It’s a story that must not be forgotten. I hope that many representing the younger generations will go and see the exhibit at the President Woodrow Wilson House, which bears the name of a leader who built peace.”

-The Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero.

The Art of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson – American Impressionist (December 3, 2014 – March 8, 2015)


Please click here for more information about this encore exhibition!

Images of the Great War: The European Offensives – 1914-1916

World War I Prints and Drawings from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library

at The President Woodrow Wilson House, Washington, DC, (April 2014 – November 9, 2014)

Elim Sur la route de Sedan 1915
Associate Manager and Curator Stephanie Daugherty gave a tour to C-SPAN 3 of the “Images of the Great War: The European Offensives- 1914-1916, World War I Prints and Drawings from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library” exhibition. This 30-minute segment was filmed as a part of the American Artifacts programming on C-SPAN. To view the video, click here and then click on the right hand side on “American Artifacts: World War I Images” under the video playlist. 

Former Traveling Exhibitions ~~~~~~~

The Art of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson – American Impressionist

Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut
(October 5, 2012 – January 23, 2013)

Morris Museum, Augusta, Georgia
(March 9, 2013 – May 5, 2013)

The National First Ladies’ Library, Canton, Ohio
(November 14, 2013 – May 16, 2014)

Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum, Rome, Georgia
(July 1, 2014 – November 1, 2014)


Woodrow Wilson, The President Electric

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton, Virginia
(October 2013 – March 2014)

Boyertown, Pennsylvania
(April 2014)


Artifacts from the President Woodrow Wilson House collection
are currently on display in exhibitions at:

The Wilson Center, Washington, DC

The Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum, Wytheville, Virginia

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton, Virginia