First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson Exhibition at Oak Hill

Release Date: July 28, 2014

Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum and the Rome Area Council for the Arts announce a celebration of the life and of one of Rome's most influential citizens: First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson.
The celebration marks 100 years since Wilson’s death in 1914 with an exhibition of 21 of her original landscape paintings. “The Art of First Lady Ellen Axson Wilson” is on display now through Nov. 1 at Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum. The paintings are on loan from the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, Va., The Woodrow Wilson House in Washington D.C., Rome’s Sarah Hightower Regional Library and local collector Layton Roberts who was instrumental in bringing this exhibition to Rome.
From an early age, Wilson demonstrated artistic capability. Born May 15, 1860, she moved with her family from Savannah to Rome shortly after the Civil War when her father was called to be the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. She enrolled at Rome Female College in 1871 where she excelled as a student, especially in art, and went on to win a bronze medal in freehand drawing at the Paris International Exposition at the age of 18. 

Wilson would eventually be engaged to Woodrow Wilson in 1883, who ultimately became the 28th president of the United States. Before their wedding, she enrolled at the Art Students League in New York. It is there where she studied under leading American artists of the day, and would become a part of  one of the most influential movements in American art. Her work now belongs to the Woodrow Wilson House.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students. Children 5 and under are free. The Oak Hill facilities and grounds are open to the public from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, excluding holiday weekends. More information is at