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'A Glorious Burden'
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President Franklin Roosevelt, shown here in the Oval Office, served four terms as president. The occupants of the Oval Office, and their "glorious burden," are the subject of an exhibit now on display at the Minnesota History Center. (Photo courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)

St. Paul, Minn. — As the nation looks ahead to choosing its next president on Nov. 2, an exhibit at the Minnesota History Center takes a look at presidents of the past.

"The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden," is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution. It's in Minnesota through next May.

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"This exhibit gets into the minds of our country's presidents and explores the office as a whole -– from dealing with foreign superpowers to everyday family life in the White House," says Nina Archabal, director of the Minnesota Historical Society. "It also shows how Minnesota has been involved with presidential politics, from hosting the 1892 Republican National Convention to becoming an important swing state in the 21st century."

The American Presidency exhibit includes more than 300 artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution. The Minnesota Historical Society added more than 100 artifacts from its own collections.

Some of the items featured are the inkwell used by Abraham Lincoln to write the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, a CBS microphone used by Franklin Roosevelt during his Fireside Chats, and a surveyor's compass used by George Washington at Mt. Vernon.

MPR's David Molpus toured the exhibit recently to see what visitors thought of the displays. To listen to his report, click the audio link in the right column.

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