Visitor Center


Current Exhibits

First Floor

Leaders in Literacy: First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians

May 2024 - April 2025

The right to an education is a foundational principle of our nation’s history, and so many of our First Ladies have taken this cause to heart throughout the course of the American journey. From one-room schoolhouse teachers such as Abigail Fillmore and Lucretia Garfield, to Eleanor Roosevelt’s Arthurdale experiment, to Barbara and Laura Bush’s literacy initiatives, to current First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s college teaching, these powerful women have provided opportunities for empowering the young minds of our country to learn, grow, and thrive through education.

The Leaders in Literacy exhibit showcases numerous personal artifacts from the National First Ladies Library & Museum collection that highlight the work of our First Ladies in the areas of education and literacy. The exhibit also features an extraordinary loan from the Arthurdale Heritage Museum featuring First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s efforts to create a New Deal-era “homestead” that would provide a new chance at life and an education for impoverished residents in this West Virginia community. In addition, the exhibit will include artifacts from the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush Presidential Museums related to First Ladies Barbara and Laura Bush.

To engage younger audiences, the “Leaders in Literacy” exhibit also features programs including “Reading Reimagined” — a replica one-room schoolhouse in our children’s interactive area, as well as the launch of our “Little Leaders” reading and activity program for children ages Pre-K to 4th grade.

4 images of first ladies in a row: eleanor roosevelt,laura bush, caroline harrison, and and ladybird johnson. All of the first ladies are reading or interacting with children
Learn about First Ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt, Laura Bush, Caroline Harrison and Lady Bird Johnson and how they are Leaders in Literacy.

National First Ladies Library and Museum

Ladies of the Hour: White House Hostesses

Although the spouce of the president traditionally takes on the role of first lady, many women have taken on the durties without donning the title of first lady or the role of spouce. These women are often called White House hostesses. These hostesses, often youg and unmarried, played the role of helpmate for presidents who were widowed, unmarried, or whose wives could not or did not wish to perform White House social duties. Ladies of the Hour: White House Hostesses explores several examples of White House hostesses who performed a more vital role in presidential White House History.

First Ladies on Campaign Trail Image
Learn about the Lady Bird Special, and other First Lady campaign successes in this new exhibit.

National First Ladies Library and Museum

Second Floor

Visit the second floor of the Education Center, which is a great place to learn more about all of our nation’s First Ladies, as well as a wonderful family interactive space with activities, games, and fun things to do

First Ladies Research Library

The National First Ladies Library & Museum has a rich and extensive collection of books and materials available for researchers. The Research Library, is currently open only by appointment. Please call 440-317-3750 to inquire.

Lower Level

First Ladies on the Campaign Trail

First Ladies on the Campaign Trail celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of First Ladies in the campaign arena. Campaign time creates a dilemma for modern First Ladies. They must convey a positive message and glamorous look that can contribute to their husband’s campaigns. However, if they publicly stumble, they can hurt their husbands’ presidential contest chances. How do they maneuver through all the media attention while focusing on their husband’s campaign strategy? At first, the only course of action for potential First Ladies was social calls to prominent wives of influential voting men; otherwise, they stayed behind the scenes. However, once the 19th Amendment passed, Florence Harding could not only actively participate in the Front Porch campaign of 1920, but she voted for her husband as well. Eleanor Roosevelt’s unprecedented approach to campaign travel and canvassing on behalf of her husband set the stage for future jet-setting First Ladies. Mamie Eisenhower endeared herself by waving from trains and planes on the arm of her husband. Lady Bird Johnson’s triumphant solo trip on the “Lady Bird Special” ushered in the independent course a First Lady can make as a campaign team member. When former First Lady Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008 and 2016, she made a major chip in the proverbial glass ceiling. These women contributed to the modern role of 21st-century political wives and women. Women today can campaign for office and win on their own merits. There will always be interest in their personal life, which might include a spouse or partner. Who will be the next trailblazer? That person will stand together with the pioneering first ladies on the campaign trail.

Front doors of the City National Bank building
City National Bank

Learn about the building that now houses the Education Center.

Junior Ranger Logo
Junior Ranger

Complete a Junior Ranger book to earn your Jr. Ranger Badge!

Michelle Obama sits at desk and uses a laptop computer
Parks as Classrooms

We offer a variety of programs both in school and virtual!

Last updated: May 7, 2024

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Contact Info

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205 Market Avenue South
Canton, OH 44702-2107


(330) 452-0876

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