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Learning Vacations, Presidential Library and Museums Learning Vacations, Educational Tours

Updated on September 3, 2012
Gerald Ford Presidential Library
Gerald Ford Presidential Library

Educational Vacation Anyone?

Looking for a vacation where learning and education are key? Want to explore history and the political climate from the country's inception to present day? Already been there . . . done that in Washington DC? Consider a trip to one of the 19 Presidential sites, museums or libraries.

Not to worry if the family wants to explore other avenues while on vacation, many of these historical sites are located in or close to major cities and attractions such as Disneyland (Nixon Center) or Boston, Atlanta, or Chicago (Springfield). Springfield, home of the Lincoln Museum has several delightful bed and breakfast locations which help immerse you into the flavor of the times.

There are 13 presidential libraries maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Other presidents have library centers operated by National Park services, private foundations, state governments or historical societies. These libraries are usually built in the president's home state.

These libraries hold over 500 million written pages of text along with millions of photographs and motion picture film, and audio and video tapes. These museums may also house other memorabilia such as awards, gifts, collections and heirlooms.

President Quincy Adams Center
President Quincy Adams Center


John Quincy Adams

Stone Library at Adams National Historical Park

Quincy, MA

Adams, the son of a president, was born in Braintee, and was the sixth US president. He was a Harvard-educated lawyer who served as Secretary of State prior to his election. President Adams proposed that the Federal Government underwrite a network of highways and canals and develop and conserve public domain with the sale of public lands. He was a proponent of the arts and sciences, scientific explorations, a national university and observatory. He was defeated for a second term, but later was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1836 southern Congressmen passed a "gag rule" automatically tabling petitions against slavery; Adams worked for its repeal for eight years. He died from a stroke he suffered while working on the floor of the House.

Visitor Info


Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum

Northampton, MA

This village storekeeper's son was graduated from Amherst College. His term was characterized by the "Coolidge prosperity." President Coolidge promised to uphold the status quo; he believed in limited government intervention in economic matters. He vetoed seveal farm relief bills and was viewed as being insensitive to the depressed condition of agriculture and other industries.

Visitor Info


John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Dorchester, MA

Kennedy, the 35th president, was the youngest and first Catholic president. His popular reign was tragically ended by an assasin's bullets as his motorcade wound through the streets of Dallas, Texas. His book, Profiles in Courage, won the Pulitzer Prize in history. His presidency was known for the skirmishes with Cuba and Fidel Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion which has been chronicled in film and literature. Kennedy was also known for his allegiance to upholding the civil rights of all.

Vistor Info

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point
Boston, MA 02125

President Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential LIbrary and Museum

Hyde Park, New York

President Roosevelt led the country out of the Great Depression as the 32nd President. He attended Harvard and Columbia Law School and was a fifth cousin of former President Theodore Roosevelt. His administration was responsible for the New Deal program which was supported by legislation for business recovery, unemployment relief, help for those facing foreclosures and support for farmers. He established the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Visitor Info

4079 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, N 12538


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum


Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln governed during another turbulent time in US history. He fought secessions efforts of the southern US states.and was willing to use force to defend Federal law and the Union. As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery in the US.

Lincoln won reelection, but as assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth.

Visitor Info

212 N. Sixth Street

Springfield, IL 62701


Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Freemont, Ohio

A Civil War Veteran and lawyer, Hayes secured the presidency after a contested election. An Electoral Commission of eight Republicans and seven Democrats was established to settle a dispute over electoral votes in Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida. All the contests went to Hayes by a vote of eight to seven. He defeated his democratic opponent with a final vote of 185 to 184.

Hayes was known for maintaining his high principles and insisting all Cabinet appointees were selected based on merit, not political connections. He stood for the return of "wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government" in the South.

Visitor Info

Spiegel Grove

Fremont,OH 43420-2796


President McKinley

William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum

Canton, Ohio

When McKinley became President, the depression of 1893 was nearing its devasting reign. The country was now immersed in a battle over silver. President McKinley delayed acting on this issue, instead he called Congress into session and enacting the highest tariff in history.

During President McKinley's terms, the US entered in the 100 war between Cuba and Spain during which the US overran the Spanish fleet occupying Cuban's Santiago harbor, seized Manila in the Philippines, and occupied Puerto Rico. Later, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico will be annexed. The President was assassinated shortly after his second term by an anarchist.

Visitor Info

800 McKinley Monument Drive

Canton, OH 44708


President Hoover

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

West Branch, Iowa

Hoover, the 31st US President, was the son of a Quaker and was one of the first graduates of Stanford University. He led America during one of the most difficult periods in history known as the Great Depression. Although considered a humanitarian, his viewpoints that caring for the impoverished must be bore by local and voluntary efforts were unpopular. Despite presenting a stimulus program to address business growth, public works, unemployment, banking reform and mortgage foreclosures, he was defeated for a second term in 1932.

Visitor Info

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
210 Parkside Drive
P.O. Box 488
West Branch, Iowa 52358

President Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library

Abilene, Kansas

Eisenhower brought an impressive 20 year military resume when he was elected 34th President. And, he was the commander of the European military forces during World War II. He worked to reduce the tensions of Cold War with South Korea and Russia. President Eisenhower responded to mobs decrying school desegregation with federal troops in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Visitor Info

200 SE 4th Street

Abilene, KS 67410


President Ford

Gerald R. Ford Museum; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library; Ann Arbor, Michigan

The terms of the 25th Amendment were used when departing President Nixon, nominated Vice President Gerald Ford to assume the presidency. After congressional approval, the VP become the 38th President. A Yale school law graduate, President Ford was tasked with taming oppressive inflation while tackling a recession. President Ford used his veto power 39 times to defeat measures he felt would contribute to budget deficit. Ford worked to calm tensions in the Middle East and worked domestically to help businesses by decreasing their taxes and loosing regulatory controls.

Visitor Info


Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
Jimmy Carter Library and Museum


President Wilson

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

Stauton, Virginia

This lawyer and former Princeton President was the 28th US President. The Federal Reserve Act, Underwood Act to lower tariffs were enacted during his reign and the Federal Trade Commission was began to fight unfair business practices. He supported legislation which strengthen worker's rights including child labor restrictions and limits on railroad worker's work days. WIlson initially resisted US involvement in World War I; however, after his election to a second term, he requested Congress endorse US involvement.

Visitor Info

20 N. Coalter Street

Stauton, VA 24401


President Carter

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum

Atlanta, Georgia

Carter graduated from the Annapolis, Maryland Naval Academy in 1946 and was known for his compassion and desire to help the poor and repressed. Carter worked to decrease unemployment during his term and helped spur the growth of eight million jobs. He worked to decrease rising inflation and record high interest rates. President Cater created the Department of Education and increased minority representation in the Government sector. He expanded the national park system and created a national energy policy to fight the nation's energy shortage. President Carter also worked to quell tensions in the Middle East; however, Iran responded to his policies by taking 52 American hostages from the US Embassy. Negotiations and a military action to free them proved unsuccessful for 14 months. The hostages would be released the day he left office.

Visitor Info

441 Freedom Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30307-1498
Tel: 404-865-7100

President Truman

Harry S. Truman Museum and Library

Independence, Missouri

With his election as 33rd US President, Truman was thrust into his role as Commander in Chief of the Military. War World II was winding down; the Japanese defeat seemed inevitable, yet they rejected surrender. Truman agreed to the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki which led to the end of the war. Domestically, Truman endorsed a multi-facet program to expand Social Security, increase employment and support fair employment practices, and provide safe public housing. He negotiated the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and supported the founding of the United Nations.

Visitor Info

24-hour information line: (800) 833-1225
Administrative offices: (816) 268-8200

President Clinton

William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park

Little Rock, Arkansas

This Yale law school graduate become the 42nd President in 1992. His two terms were known for fostering international peace and economic well being. He was impeached by the House of Representatives due to indiscretions with a staff member; however, the Senate found him not guilty. President Clinton remains popular on both domestic and international fronts.

Visitor Info

1200 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
General phone number: (501) 374-4242

President Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Austin, Texas

Vice President Johnson was sworn in as President on November 22, 1963 after President Kennedy was assassinated. He worked to enact a new Civil Rights Bill and tax cuts. President Johnson was heralded for his commitment to space exploration and his dogged push for a "Great Society" unhampered by poverty, disease, unemployment and crime. His office tenure was marked by Viet Nam War which proved unpopular as the conflict escalated. He died of a heart attack January 22, 1973.

Visitor Info

2313 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78705

President Bush

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

College Station, Texas

Bush, who served as 41st President, had a distinguished military career including earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery. President Bush's administration saw the end of the Communist empire and the fall of the Berlin War. He intervened in several international conflicts and helped overthrow the regime of General Noriega in Panama and sent American troops to battle Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait.

Visitor Info


President Bush

George W. Bush Presidential Center (not open as of 2012)

University Park, Texas

George W. Bush enjoyed two terms as 43rd President of the United States of America. President Bush was responsible for the No Child Left Behind initiative which worked to improve educational standards for school children. He expanded Medicare with a prescription drug benefit. His administration is responsible for launching a worldwide HIV/AIDS program and increasing governmental support for veterans.

Note: This library is scheduled to open in 2013, .

Phone: 972-353-0545


President Nixon

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Yorba Linda, California

Richard Nixon was the 37th US President. He was graduated from the Duke University Law School. He was known for his emphasis on domestic and overseas programs including intiatives to reduce tensions between China and the Soviet Union. The military draft was ended during his administration and sweeping anticrime laws enacted. His term was overshadowed by the Watergate scandel. Facing possible impeachment proceedings, he resigned on August 8, 1974.

Visitor Info

18001 Yorba Linda Blvd.

Yorba Linda, CA 92886


President Reagan

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Simi Valley, California

Expect many celebrations in 2011 to recognize the big 100 for former President, Ronald Reagan. The 40th US President introduced the Reagan Revolution during his terms. President Reagan enacted legislation to address a trifecta of economic problems -- growth, inflation and unemployment. He supported an expanded strong national defense and worked to increase the military budget. His mantra was "peace through strength." He fought international terrorism with military might and negotiated a ban on intermediate-range nuclear missiles with the Soviet Union. He and Vice President George Bush enjoyed two terms in office.

Visitor Info

40 Presidential Drive

Simi Valley, CA 93065


The five living US Presidents - (2010)
The five living US Presidents - (2010)

Before You Take Your Trip

Visit the website or contact the facility when planning your trip so you are familiar with hours of operation, programs and any special events planned. Some of the sites such as the historical site for President Adams is actually maintained by the Park Service and is located within a park which contains the residence(s) of the Adams family. Make sure you and family dress appropriately for your visit with comfortable clothing, jacket for cooling weather and comfortable shoes. Then, enjoy your tour of these libraries and your vacation where learning is key!


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    • ExpandYourMind profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Sounds like a great way to see some of the country and get a good overview of these presidencies, Susie42. Thanks for stopping.

    • SUSIE42 profile image


      7 years ago

      I would love to take a tour of all the presidential libraries when I retire.

    • ExpandYourMind profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Yep, it's a fun trip. Thanks for stopping in, Pamela.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I would love to visit these libraries. I just didn't realize how many there were. Thanks for the information.

    • ExpandYourMind profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thanks for stopping in, Peggy. I'd love to check out each of these. Another one for my bucket list :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Would be fun and educational to see all of these Presidential Libraries and Museums. So far we have toured the Herbert Hoover one (thanks for the highlighted link!) and the George Bush one in College Station. Excellent hub!


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