Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First Ladies National Historic Site Canton, Ohio

The First Ladies National Historic Site is in reality, two sites. They are within easy walking distance of each other and parking is free. If you don't know how to find the free parking you won't find it easily. There is a parking garage next to the First Ladies Library, it is not free. You need to continue down the street to the Ida Saxon McKinley House to find the free parking. 

The National First Ladies Library is in the former City National Bank Building. It is an an attractive building well signed. 

After you purchase your ticket at the library, you will be given a time-ticket to visit the McKinley House. You can then watch six videos which can take 40-minutes and tour the changing exhibits which are located within the library. 

Video number two is the White House Tour conducted by former First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in 1962. The videos are shown on a simple TV screen, which is someone is sitting in front of you, can make viewing difficult. The videos are interesting, the way they are presented could be improved. 
There is only one room of displays here.  I won't bothering telling you what we saw, what you will see will be different as the exhibits change. It was disappointing. I expected to see rooms of displays about the First Ladies, permanent displays to learn more and that is not at all what is offers. 

This is more of a place for people who are researching the First Ladies.  What is offered is interesting, it is just smaller than I expected. 

A little before your tour time for  the Ida Saxton McKinley House, you walk down the street to the house. Tours of the house are docent led and fascinating. The tour lasts for 45 minutes and it is the real reason that you must visit this site. It is one of the best presidential house tours that we have taken and we have taken quite a few!!  An elevator takes you to the upper levels of the house. 

The house itself is interesting . It belonged to Ida's grandfather. The McKinley's lived here from 1873 until the president was assassinated. They moved in when Ida's mother died to be with her father. 

Most of the furniture in the house is not original but is to the period. You see the president's office and the section of the house where the family lived. Ida's sister Mary and her seven children also lived in the house. It is a large house but not that large, they did not have a lot of privacy.

In the last room that you visit, there are pictures and short biographies of all of the First Ladies. The tour stops here long enough for you to read them. In my case,  some of these women will be almost completely unknown and it is interesting to see what they looked like and learn a little about them. 

Your last stop will be the gift shop. You need a couple of hours to visit this site. Photography is not allowed in the Library, not even for media. However, it is fine in the house. 

If you don't know a lot about President and Mrs. McKinley you are not alone. You will leave here, feeling as if you know them quite well and wanting to get to know them better. 

Your next stop in Canton should be the McKinley Monument and Museum. 

No comments:

Post a Comment