Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy President's Day!

Monday, February 16th is President's Day, a U.S federal holiday. In observance of this day most schools, banks, Federal offices and courts will be closed. Since it's a day away from school, when possible I like to take the kiddos to visit a historical site or museum with exhibits on U.S. Presidential history. It makes for a fun and educational day! There have been forty-four Presidencies throughout the history of the United States. We live in St. Louis, Missouri and located here is the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.  Ulysses S. Grant was a Civil War General and also the 18th President of the United States. The historical site is on 10 acres of land that belonged to the Dent family. The main house is called White Haven and was the family estate of Julia Dent whom was Grant's wife. After serving in the Mexican-American War, General Grant resigned from the Army in 1854 and came to live with his wife and children on her family's estate in South St. Louis County. In 1860 the family moved to Galena, IL where Grant worked in his family's leather goods store. He re-entered the Army in 1861 after the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter. In 1864 he was commissioned by President Lincoln as Lieutenant General of all Union Armies, and then in 1868 he was elected President of the United States.

General Ulysses S. Grant
Courtesy of the Missouri Civil War Museum

Springfield, Illinois is about an hour and a half drive from St. Louis and is home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. If possible, a visit to the museum is well worth the travel time. The tour of the Abraham Lincoln Museum includes several interactive exhibits with information on Mr. Lincoln's life and family as well as his years as the 16th President of the United States. In addition, there is a "Holavision" presentation which uses ghosts that interact with live actors. There are also many artifacts from the Taper Collection which include clothing, jewelry, family photos and letters. Currently, the  museum is home to the "Undying Words" exhibit which explores Lincoln's major speeches and how he helped to end slavery in America. The exhibit showcases several of Mr. Lincoln's speeches in their original handwritten or first printing form. Nearby is the Lincoln Home National Historic Site which is also open for tours. The Lincoln family lived in the home at the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets in Springfield, Illinois from 1844 - 1861, when Mr. Lincoln left for Washington, D.C. after being elected President of the United States.

Meet The Lincolns Exhibit
Courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

Missouri is home to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Mr. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States and his Presidential Library is located approximately 3.5 hours from St. Louis in Independence, MO. The museum hosts two permanent exhibits featuring Truman's Presidential years and another highlighting the personal side of Mr. Truman and his family.

President Harry S. Truman
Courtesy of

There are many Presidential Libraries and Museums, birthplaces and homes located in cities and towns throughout the United States. Why not check out which Presidential historical sites are near your area and make a plan to visit this President's Day. As always, be sure to check ahead of your visit for museum hours, ticket prices, parking and any additional area attractions. Happy President's Day and have lots of fun exploring our Presidential history! 

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