Ohio is known as the “Mother of Presidents,” since 8 of our nation’s leaders hailed from the Buckeye State. As such, there are several spots throughout the state where monuments and memorials dedicated to these presidents can be found. Canton (Stark County), Ohio, is the resting place of the 25th President, William McKinley.
Canton was McKinley’s “adopted” home, having been born in Niles (near Youngstown), Ohio, and later practicing law in Canton. He lived here when he became Governor of Ohio until he later had to, of course, move to Washington, D.C., to serve as president. History is rich here at the absolutely stunning and ornate monument, built for him after being assassinated in 1901.
Even if you’re not a history or political buff like me, you will still appreciate what this building holds and represents. You’ll appreciate even more the adjacent museum dedicated to the historical leader.
The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is where education meets excitement. This learning hub has so much to offer visitors, especially school-aged children. So, I planned a visit this February with my good friends Jamie and Erik, along with their girls Ellie (6) and Kaiya (2) so we could see for ourselves all that was held within the museum walls.
We immediately realized that this was not your average presidential museum. While of course there were exhibits dedicated to William McKinley, there was also much more, including history exhibits, live animals, dinosaur fossils, a planetarium and plenty of interactive components to keep the kids (and even us adults) busy for literally hours.
Since our visit was in honor of Presidents’ Day, we made sure to see the Second Floor of the museum to see the McKinley Gallery. This large room was organized to replicate the home of President William McKinley and his wife, Ida. There were artifacts from his private life, his life as an attorney, and his life in the White House. Animatronics of the McKinleys greet visitors and tell tales of his life.
On the same floor as the McKinley Gallery is the Stark County Story, which chronicles the history of Stark County during the 19th and 20th centuries. Points of interest include a spinning ride that demonstrates a giant Timken bearing in action, and a chair that lifts you off the ground using only the suction power of a Hoover vacuum (both Timken and Hoover being Stark County originals).
The kids’ favorite, however, were the exhibits found downstairs in what were known as Discovery World and Fascination Station! Immediately when you walk in, you are greeted by a giant robotic Allosaurus (much like a T-rex), and the skeletal remains of a Wooly Mammoth and Saber Toothed Tiger! There are also live fish, amphibians, insects, and more on nearby “Ecology Island.”
Fascination Station has TONS of hands-on science elements, which helps kids learn about physics, meteorology, biology, and more.
The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is a great way to spend Presidents’ Day or any day.