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Travel Guide to the 22 Presidential Libraries and Museums You Can Visit

Learn about the presidential libraries and museums and how you can visit on an epic road trip.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

Located on these road trip routes:

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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U.S. presidential libraries preserve, interpret, and put historical presidential materials within reach of researchers. But beyond the wordsmith researching another bestselling historical biography, these libraries are also intriguing museums with jaw-dropping exhibits – like Reagan’s Air Force One and Wilson’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine.

Parks with lakes and hiking trails often surround the presidential libraries. The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge is an 1899 bridge converted into a pedestrian-only trail across the Arkansas River. And several of the presidents are buried near their presidential library.

For me, part of the fun of visiting presidential libraries is the road trip involves getting there. Some of the presidential are in remote parts of the country far from the nearest airport or train station. That’s why I started compiling this list years ago after visiting my first presidential library in Canton during a 6-week road trip across Ohio.

This travel guide has everything you need to plan a trip by plane, train, or automobile to the presidential libraries and museums from California to Massachusetts.

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Map of Presidential Libraries

How to use this map | Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the (very faint) star at the end of the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.

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History of Presidential Libraries

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set a precedent when he donated his personal and presidential correspondence to a newly created government agency: the National Archives and Records Administration. This led to the establishment of the first presidential library in 1941.

President Harry S. Truman followed Roosevelt’s example in 1950 when he also donated his papers. This set in motion a series of events that changed the future of these documents.

In 1955, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act. This codified the precedent Roosevelt set by creating an official Presidential Library system with the following primary components:

  1. Presidents are encouraged, but not required, to donate their materials to the federal government.
  2. Establishes a presidential library for all future Presidents of the United States.
  3. Requires private funding to build the library and provide an endowment for future maintenance.
  4. The National Archives and Records Administration operates the presidential library.
  5. All historical materials are made available for research to the general public.

Roosevelt’s presidential library was the only one operated by NARA before the Presidential Libraries Act.

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Everything changed after the infamous Watergate scandal. After resigning from office in 1974, Richard Nixon planned to destroy most of his presidential materials. Congress quickly responded, passing the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act. The Act took federal custody of Nixon’s materials, preserving them for future generations.

In 1978, the Presidential Records Act solidified federal ownership of any presidential materials directly related to the president’s constitutional and statutory duties. The Archivist of the United States collects the documents, cataloged by the National Archives and Records Administration, and distributed them to the presidential libraries.

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NARA vs. Non-Federal Presidential Libraries

The Presidential Libraries Act created the framework for establishing presidential libraries built with private funding and operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. But, not all presidential libraries are operated by NARA.

A presidential library has been established for every president since Hoover. But only thirteen of the libraries have been built. The Barack Obama Presidential Library is under construction in Chicago, and there are no current plans for a physical location for the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library.

All but one of these presidential is operated by NARA. In 2023, NARA transferred the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum operations to the George W. Bush Foundation. It’s the first time since Theodore Roosevelt that a presidential library is not operated by NARA.

And there are many other presidential libraries not operated by NARA.

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The George Washington Presidential Library was completed in 2013 and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, founded in 1853 to preserve Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. And the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum was built by the non-profit Hayes Presidential Center, Inc.

These non-federal presidential libraries have collections from private owners – not the National Archives – because these were before the 1978 Presidential Records Act. That’s why only 7 non-federal presidential libraries have ever been built.

There are few differences between NARA and non-federal presidential libraries besides the operations. Both types of presidential libraries make historical records available for research, have public museums to explore artifacts, and work to preserve as many presidential materials as possible.

The National Archives and Records Administration operates 14 presidential libraries:

  • Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
  • Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum
  • Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
  • Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
  • Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
  • George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
  • William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
  • Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum
  • Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum

The non-federal presidential libraries include:

  • George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library
  • Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum
  • McKinley Presidential Library & Museum
  • Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum
  • Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites
  • Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Two presidential libraries are currently under construction:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library (non-federal)
  • Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum (NARA)
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Completing the Passport to Presidential Libraries

I love passport books. I keep the National Parks Passport in a three-ring binder, the Lighthouse Passport, and the U.S. Capitals Passport in the center console of my Honda Pilot. It’s the same place I also keep my leatherbound Craft Beer Log, which I found at Paper Skyscraper in Charlotte.

But no one told me about the Passport to Presidential Libraries when I visited my first presidential library.

The $10 passport is for sale at the fourteen presidential libraries maintained by NARA. Each two-page spread in the passport features information about the president’s accomplishments and a place to collect the cancellation stamp.

After collecting all fourteen cancellation stamps, you can present the completed passport to one of the presidential libraries and receive a special gift – a Presidential Crystal Paperweight. It’s one of the best rewards for completing a passport.

But maybe not as good as collecting a Wilbear Wright at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park after completing the Aviation Trail Passport!

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How to Travel to Presidential Libraries

The presidential libraries are spread across the country, from California to Massachusetts. Most of them are near international airports or Amtrak stations. And, of course, my favorite way to visit the libraries is by road trip.

Whether you travel by plane, train, or automobile, one thing is almost certain about visiting a presidential library: you’ll need a car to get there. Driving your car is the easiest. But it’s also easy to rent a car or hire a ride share like Uber or Lyft. And, just in case everything fails, many cities still have old-fashioned taxis.

I have included airports and train stations near the presidential libraries in the map above. With each library listed below, I have included more detailed information and links to the airports and train stations.

If you’re driving, I suggest visiting the Road Trips page for inspiration, road trip gear, and how-to guides.

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No. 1

George Washington Presidential Library

Although the first recorded mention of a Washington presidential library was in 1885, it would be almost one hundred years before work began in earnest. In 1983, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association began expanding the Mount Vernon campus with a new administration building. Construction on a library and research center started in 2010.

Read More | Everything You Need to Know to Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Virginia

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington is colloquially called the George Washington Presidential Library. The $100 million building opened its doors on September 27, 2013.

The library contains thousands of rare books, manuscripts, documents, and artifacts. One of the most interesting parts of the collection is the Revolutionary War era maps used by Washington during his campaigns.

The library is open for research by appointment. The library is across the road from the Mount Vernon estate in northern Virginia. Although the library is not open for public tours, visitors can take guided tours of Washington’s house, explore the vast campus, and visit the museum.

Address | 3600 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
Phone | 703-780-3600
Website | www.mountvernon.org/library

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How to Get There

George Washington Presidential Library is in Mount Vernon, Virginia, about thirty minutes south of Alexandria and Washington, D.C.

Reagan National Airport (DCA) is the closest airport. The airport is serviced by most domestic airlines and has daily connections to other nearby airports. Dulles International Airport (IAD) is further away but offers many more flights. Airlines include United, American, Delta, British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, and Qatar Airways.

The Alexandria Amtrak station is an enclosed building with staff, restrooms, and a waiting room. Getting a rideshare from the train station to the presidential library is easy. The station is on the Cardinal route connecting New York, Washington, Charlottesville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago.

Northern Virginia is a congested mess of trudging traffic. Fortunately, Mount Vernon is at the southern edge of the area, just far enough away to make it easy to drive to. Interstates 66 and 95 intersect nearby. The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a scenic drive between Mount Vernon and I-495 west of Washington.

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No. 2

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library opened in 2004, and the museum opened six months later in 2005. The library and museum were funded by the State of Illinois, one of the only presidential libraries owned by a state. The campus includes two modern buildings and the historic Union Station near the Old State Capital State Historic Site.

The library’s collections include many documents and artifacts from Lincoln’s tenure as president. The collection also consists of the Illinois State Historical Library, a state agency founded in 1889 to preserve Illinois’s history.

The most impressive things about the museum are the full-size dioramas. Scenes from Lincoln’s White House, the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre, and a recreation of his boyhood home allow visitors to feel like they’re walking through time. Other permanent exhibits interpret Lincoln’s presidency and critical moments of the Civil War.

There is no admission charge for research at the library. However, there is a moderate admission charge for the museum. The admission is good all day, so you can leave for a nearby lunch and return any time before the museum closes.

Address | 212 North 6th Street, Springfield, IL 62701
Phone | 217-558-8844
Website | https://presidentlincoln.illinois.gov/

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How to Get There

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is ideally located in Springfield, the capital city of Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI) is a small regional airport minutes from downtown Springfield. The airport features rental cars but very few flights. The General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport in Peoria is the most convenient airport. This airport has direct flights from a dozen cities, including Chicago, Charlotte, Denver, and Dallas.

Passenger trains have serviced Springfield since Union Station opened in 1898. In 1971, Amtrak built a new Springfield station a couple of blocks from the original. The Springfield Station is on two routes. The Lincoln Service runs between Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. The Texas Eagle runs between Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Antonio, with an extension to Los Angeles.

Interstates 55 and 72 intersect in Springfield. These highways offer quick travel from almost anywhere in the country.

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No. 3

Ulysses S. Grant Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

In 2009, Mississippi State University received the collection of papers and artifacts once belonging to Ulysses S. Grant. The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library was founded in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of the Ulysses S. Grant Association’s founding. The library is a joint venture between the association and the university, with the library and museum occupying the fourth floor of the Mitchell Memorial Library.

Read More | The Definitive List of Every Presidential Home You Can Visit in the U.S.

The library’s collection includes 15,000 linear feet of documents, photographs, and artifacts from Grant’s life. The artifacts come from his childhood, military career, and presidency.

Visitors can explore the museum to learn about four critical eras of Grant’s life: cadet at West Point, commanding general of the Union Army during the Civil War, the 18th President of the United States, and his later life as a statesman. The museum features interactive exhibits, full-size dioramas, and learn about his funeral parade through New York City.

The library and museum do not charge an admission fee.

Address | 395 Hardy Road, Starkville, MS 39759
Phone | 662-325-4552
Website | www.usgrantlibrary.org

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Where to Park

The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Museum are located on the fourth floor of the Mitchell Memorial Library. Getting to the library is slightly different than most presidential libraries because it’s on the Mississippi State University campus.

Visitors can obtain a parking pass and park for free in any space not marked for service, handicapped, or metered. The best free parking lot is the Commuter East, about a ten-minute walk from the library.

Visitors can also pay for parking in metered spaces and garages without parking permits. The university uses the ParkMobile (iOS | Android) app to manage smartphone payments. Use the app to find available spaces, pay for initial parking, and adjust as needed during your visit.

Did You Know | A quirky requirement for faculty, staff, and students at Mississippi State University is they must park with the license plate facing the driving lane. This allows campus police to find vehicles quickly. But it’s also a great way to see where everyone is from while visiting campus!

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How to Get There

Mississippi State University is in Starkville, a remote small town in Mississippi. Getting there requires a road trip on U.S. Highways – my favorite way of traveling.

Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) is the closest place to fly to Starkville, Mississippi. It’s about a two-hour drive from the airport with a rental car.

It takes about 1.5 hours to drive from Winona along Interstate 55 to Starkville. Driving from Tupelo along Interstate 22 is faster, taking only about an hour.

Make it a Road Trip | The most scenic way to Starkville is a drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Leave Jackson on the parkway northbound toward Kosciusko, the only town in America named after the Revolutionary War hero. It’s a 140-mile drive that takes about 3 hours to complete.

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No. 4

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was the first presidential library operated by the National Archive and Records Administration. The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum was the first built after the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act was passed.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum is the oldest presidential library in the U.S. It was built 25 years before Roosevelt’s presidential library.

In 1873, Hayes and his family moved into a two-story brick mansion at Spiegel Grove near Fremont, Ohio. After he died in 1893, the house was left to his second son, Colonel Webb C. Hayes. Plans were immediately implemented to preserve the presidential documents and build a library.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

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Webb deeded the estate to the State of Ohio and the president’s possessions to the Ohio Historical Society. A condition of the donation was that the state build a fireproof building to house the collection safely.

In 1916, the Hayes Memorial opened. After the last generation of the Hayes family left the house in 1965, the State of Ohio opened the home for public tours. The original fireproof building has expanded several times but remained on the family’s former estate.

Pro Travel Tip | The best time to visit is spring, summer, or autumn. Plan to spend 3-4 hours visiting the library, exploring the museum, taking a guided tour of the Hayes Home, and walking the beautiful grounds.

Admission to Spiegel Grove, the museum, and the library is free. The library is open to the public, with several temporary exhibits.

Address | Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420
Phone | 419-332-2081
Website | www.rbhayes.org

How to Get There

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum is in Fremont, Ohio, a small town near Toledo.

Toledo Express Airport (TOL) is the nearest airport, about 40 miles away. The small regional airport is only serviced by Allegiant Air and American Airlines.

Interstate 90 passes nearby to the north, and Interstate 75 about 25 miles west. These interstates provide easy driving from most places in the country.

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No. 5

McKinley Presidential Library and Museum

The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum was the first presidential library I ever visited. It gave me a new direction for road trips and angled me toward writing more about presidential history.

In 1963, the Stark County Historical Society opened a presidential library adjacent to the McKinley National Memorial, the final resting place of the nation’s 25th president. But it’s unlike any other presidential library.

The library and museum are an intriguing amalgamation of research library, history museum, science center, and planetarium. It’s everything McKinley enjoyed, so the vast exhibits are a tribute to his legacy.

Read More | 7 Fun and Educational Things to Do at the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton, OH

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The Ramsayer Research Library preserves over 40,000 documents and artifacts related to McKinley. The library is open to researchers by appointment.

Pro Travel Tip | Plan to spend about 2-3 hours exploring the vast museum. Then, walk next door to visit the final resting place of McKinley.

Discover World explores scientific topics like dinosaurs and how tornadoes work. Interactive, hands-on exhibits inspire children to explore physics, mechanics, and engineering.

The McKinley Gallery is the heart of the presidential library. It’s a fascinating full-size diorama chronicling McKinley’s life. The diorama features furniture from their Canton home, his desk, and two quirky animatronic versions of William and Ida McKinley.

Visitors must pay an admission fee to explore the museum and an additional fee to see a planetarium show. There is no admission to the McKinley National Memorial.

Address | 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, OH 44708
Phone | 330-455-7043
Website | https://mckinleymuseum.org/

How to Get There

The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is in Canton, Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is the closest airport, about 50 miles north in Cleveland. The airport is serviced by a dozen airlines, including American, Delta, United, Southwest, and Spirit.

Interstate 77 is the only major highway through Canton.

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No. 6

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation was founded in 1938. The first act of the non-profit was to buy the Manse, the historic house where Wilson was born in 1846, from Mary Baldwin College. The house was meticulously restored to its 1850s appearance over the next 80 years. The house opened for public tours in 1941.

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library expanded the campus by purchasing a home near the Manse. The research library expanded in 1990 with the Woodrow Wilson Museum at the corner of North Coalter and East Beverly Streets.

Although the research library has an impressive collection of Wilson documents and artifacts, it’s not the largest collection. The Library of Congress possesses most of his official correspondence, and Princeton University has a large collection of papers from his tenure as a professor.

Read More | 7 Intriguing Places to Discover the History of President Woodrow Wilson

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The 8,000-square-foot museum features eight exhibit galleries. But my favorite exhibit is the 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine – a car frequently driven by Wilson.

The moderate admission fee includes a self-guided tour of the museum and a guided tour of the Manse.

Did You Know | Woodrow Wilson was the first president to be a member of the American Automotive Association, today known as AAA. Wilson’s love of “motoring” and the influence of his AAA membership led to the 1916 Federal Aid Highway Act, the first federal funding for a highway system, and the 1921 Federal Aid Highway Act that established the U.S. Highway System. This is why Wilson is one of my favorite presidents – he made the Great American Road Trip possible.

Address | 20 North Coalter Street, Staunton, VA 24401
Phone | 540-885-0897
Website | www.woodrowwilson.org

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How to Get There

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is in the scenic Shenandoah Valley in Staunton, Virginia.

Charlottesville Albemarle Airport is the nearest airport. The small regional airport is only serviced by a few airlines, including Delta, American, and United.

The Staunton Amtrak station is an enclosed building with restrooms and a waiting room. The station is just a few blocks from the presidential library. It’s on the Cardinal route connecting New York, Washington, Charlottesville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago.

Interstates 64 and 81 intersect in Staunton. I-81 through the Shenandoah Valley is one of the country’s most scenic drives on an interstate. And it’s one of the primary interstates on the East Coast.

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No. 7

Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites

In 1891, Florence Kling married Warren Harding, the owner of a local newspaper in Marion, Ohio. They moved into a charming Queen Anne-style house built during their engagement. The couple remained in the house until 1921 when they left for the White House.

After Warren died in 1923 and Florence’s death in 1924, the Harding Home opened to the public in 1926.

Read More | Road Trip to the 8 Presidential Sites Throughout Northern Ohio

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In 2016, the ambitious “Harding 2020” announcement changed the small historic site. The Harding Home was restored to its 1920s appearance, and the campus was enlarged with the addition of the new Warren G. Harding Presidential Library & Museum. The library opened in 2021 with plans for future a future expansion.

The library’s collection includes more than 5,000 historical objects. The museum’s galleries feature rotating exhibits with many artifacts displayed at various times. The research center is currently under construction.

Visitors can explore the museum and take a guided tour of the Harding Home. The moderate admission fee includes all-day access to the house, museum, and grounds.

Address | 380 Mt Vernon Avenue, Marion, OH 43302
Phone | 800-600-6894
Website | https://hardingpresidentialsites.org

How to Get There

The Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites is one of the most remote presidential libraries. It’s in Marion, Ohio, a small town between Columbus and Toledo.

John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) is the closest airport, about 50 miles south. It’s one of the largest airports in Ohio and is serviced by American, Delta, Southwest, United, and Spirit Airlines. You’ll need to rent a car to finish this trip, though.

There are no interstate highways near Marion. However, because of Ohio’s limited interstates and long distances, some U.S. Highways have higher speed limits, making travel quick and easy. U.S. Highway 23 is a great route between Columbus and Toledo – the route I drove on a road trip from Asheville to Toledo years ago.

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No. 8

Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum

After graduating from law school, Calvin Coolidge moved to Northampton, a small town in western Massachusetts. In 1907, Coolidge began his political career when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the 1st Hampshire District.

The first iteration of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum was established in 1920 Coolidge, the state’s governor and Vice President-Elect, donated documents and artifacts to Forbes Library, the local library in Northampton. In 1956, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts allotted funds to establish the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Room as a separate non-profit entity in Forbes Library.

Today, it’s known as the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum.

The library’s archives include the largest collection of documents and artifacts of Coolidge. It’s also the only public library in the country to hold a presidential collection.

Research is available by appointment. But, walk-ins can explore temporary exhibits on display during regular business hours for the library. There is no admission fee. It takes about an hour to peruse the small exhibit.

Address | 20 West Street, Northampton, MA 01060
Phone | 413-587-1014
Website | https://forbeslibrary.org/coolidge/

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How to Get There

The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum is in Northampton, Massachusetts. It’s a small town in the western part of the state.

Bradley International Airport (BDL) is the nearest airport, about 30 miles south in Connecticut. The mid-sized airport is serviced by American, Delta, Southwest, United, and Spirit Airlines. You’ll need to rent a car to finish the trip.

The Northampton Amtrak station is an unstaffed platform beside the historic Union Station that now operates as a restaurant, bar, and rental facility. Fortunately, the station is less than half a mile from the presidential library. The station is on the Valley Flyer and Vermonter routes, connecting New York and Washington with many New England cities and towns.

Interstate 91 is the only major highway through the small town.

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No. 9

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s example, Herbert Hoover was the second President of the United States to establish a presidential library. In 1954, the Herbert Hoover Birthplace Foundation was established to preserve Hoover’s birthplace in West Branch, Iowa. Work began on a small museum, but halfway through construction, Hoover decided to double the size and make it his presidential library.

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum opened in 1962.

In 1965, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site was established to preserve Hoover’s birthplace and childhood home. Although the presidential library is within the boundaries of the national historic site operated by the National Park Service, the library and museum are operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

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The library’s archives include the largest collection of documents and memorabilia for Hoover. The museum’s galleries tell the chronological story of Hoover, from his early years of youthful adventure, through his tenure as president during the Great Depression, and eventual statesman in later life.

There is no admission to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. However, there is a modest fee for exploring the museum. Visitors can explore Hoover’s Birthplace Cottage, a recreation of his father’s Blacksmith Shop, and visit the final resting place of the 31st president.

Address | 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, IA 52358
Phone | 319-643-5301
Website | https://hoover.archives.gov/

How to Get There

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is remotely located in West Branch, Iowa.

Quad City International Airport (MLI) is the closest airport, about 55 miles from the presidential library. The small airport is serviced by American Airlines, Allegiant Air, and United Airlines. Rental cars are available for the final drive.

Interstate 80 passes through West Branch. It’s one of the few interstates in Iowa, making it a lengthy road trip to visit this presidential library.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 10

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a growing problem. At the peak of his popularity during his lengthy presidency, he received as many as 4,000 letters daily. Roosevelt believed in a transparent government and wanted the public to access these letters and all official correspondence.

In 1934, Roosevelt signed legislation establishing the National Archives for preserving official documents. In 1939, he set a precedent when he donated his personal and presidential correspondence to the federal government and announced plans to build a library on his property in Hyde Park, New York.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library was dedicated in 1941. But, legal battles after Roosevelt’s death in 1945 prevented the library from opening to the public. It took three years for the courts to clear the hurdles for the president’s personal collection to become federal property. At the same time, it took five years for archivists to search the collection for sensitive information.

In 1950, the library was finally opened to the public.

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The library’s archives now include the collections of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. In 2013, the library and museum were rededicated after a multimillion renovation and expansion.

The archives are open for research by appointment. An admission fee is required for the museum. The museum features an impressive exhibition gallery with interactive displays and mini theaters playing historical footage of Roosevelt’s presidency.

The library and museum are in the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. The park site is operated by the National Park Service, while the library and museum are operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.

There is a $10 admission fee to enter the national park site and an additional fee required to explore the presidential museum.

Address | 4079 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538
Phone | 845-486-7770
Website | www.fdrlibrary.org

How to Get There

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is in Hyde Park in Upstate New York.

Stewart International Airport (SWF) is the nearest airport in New Windsor, about 25 miles from the presidential library. Although it’s a small airport, several airlines, including American, Delta, JetBlue, and Norwegian Air, service it. Rental cars are available to drive to the presidential library.

The Poughkeepsie Amtrak station is closer to the presidential library than the airport, but it’s still five miles away. The enclosed building features a waiting room and restrooms. The station is on the Adirondack, Berkshire Flyer, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Maple Leaf routes. This gives the station an incredible connection to cities along the East Coast, New England, and Great Lakes region.

Interstates 84 and 87 are the only major highways, but neither passes through Poughkeepsie or Hyde Park. U.S. Highway 9 is a scenic drive along the Hudson River to the presidential library.

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No. 11

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Established in 1957, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum was the first library created following the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act. Expansions in subsequent years increased the library’s footprint to 100,000 square feet. President and Mrs. Truman are buried in the inner courtyard, one of the few presidents buried at their library.

The library’s collection includes over 15 million documents, thousands of hours of video recordings, and 10,000 books. It’s one of the largest collections of presidential materials.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

The museum features permanent and temporary exhibits featuring the 32,000 artifacts in the collection. The Truman Presidential Years exhibit is a fascinating look into Truman’s history. Visitors can explore a full-size reproduction of Truman’s Oval Office.

The library and museum are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration. Researchers can make an appointment to study the vast collections. A modest admission fee is required for a self-guided tour of the museum.

A modest admission fee is required to explore the museum.

Address | 500 West US Highway 24, Independence, MO 64050
Phone | 816-268-8200
Website | www.trumanlibrary.gov

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How to Get There

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is in Independence, Missouri, a small town at the edge of Kansas City. It’s a relatively easy presidential site to visit by plane, train, or automobile.

Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is the closest airport. Some airlines servicing the airport include Southwest, Delta, America, and United. You will most likely want to rent a car at the airport since there is no easy public transportation option, and a rideshare would be expensive.

The Independence Amtrak station is an enclosed building with a waiting room but no restrooms or staff. The station is on the Missouri River Runner route connecting St. Louis, Jefferson City, and Kansas City.

Interstates 29, 35, 49, and 70 intersect in Kansas City, making driving to this presidential library from almost anywhere in the country easy.

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No. 12

Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home is one of the country’s largest and most impressive presidential libraries. And it is the only presidential library to begin construction while the president was still in office.

In 1945, the non-profit Eisenhower Foundation was established to honor the legacy of the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WWII. The foundation’s first action was to buy Eisenhower’s childhood home in Abilene, Kansas. The first two attempts failed, but ultimately, the house was donated to the foundation.

The museum was completed in 1954, just one year after Eisenhower took office as President of the United States. The cornerstone of the library was laid while he was still in office and completed in 1962 – just one year after his presidency ended.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

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The sprawling campus has seven places open to the public: the library, museum, visitor’s center, Boyhood Home, The Place of Meditation, the Five Pylons, and Eisenhower’s gravesite. The Eisenhower Boyhood Home is an original house, standing in the same place it’s always been, furnished with items from the family, making it one of the most authentic presidential homes.

The library’s collection includes 26 million documents, over 768,000 feet of motion picture film, and 70,000 artifacts. A temporary exhibit gallery on the library’s second floor is open to the public. A moderate admission fee is required for the museum, and a guided tour of the boyhood home, but the grounds are open daily without a fee.

A moderate admission fee is required to explore the museum.

Address | 200 South East 4th Street, Abilene, KS 67410
Phone | 785-263-6700
Website | www.eisenhowerlibrary.gov

How to Get There

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home is remotely located in Abilene, Kansas, about 140 miles west of Kansas City, Missouri. The best way to visit this presidential site is a road trip – a very long road trip.

Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is the closest airport. Some airlines servicing the airport include Southwest, Delta, America, and United. Rental cars are available so you can begin the road trip at the airport.

Interstates 70 and 135 intersect just west of Abilene. These interstate highways provide quick access to most points across the country.

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No. 13

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy met with the United States Archivist to discuss plans for a presidential library. It was Kennedy’s first year in office, but he was eager to follow the precedent established by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Hoover, and Eisenhower.

Kennedy selected a site for the library next to his alma mater, Harvard University, a month before his assassination. However, in 1975, the original site was abandoned in favor of an easier site for construction at Columbia Point. The 9.5-acre site is the only oceanfront presidential library.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, designed by noted architect I.M. Pei, opened in 1979. The 164,000-square-foot library and museum features an astonishing number of permanent exhibits, a testament to Kennedy’s accomplishments in such a short term. The exhibits include a full-size recreation of his Oval Office and an interactive exhibit about the early U.S. Space Program.

A moderate admission fee is required for the museum.

Address | Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
Phone | 617-514-1600
Website | www.jfklibrary.org

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How to Get There

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s one of the country’s easiest presidential libraries to travel to.

Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is within sight of the presidential library. Delta, America, Southwest, United, British Airways, and Lufthansa are some airlines that service the airport. The airport is connected to public transportation, rideshares, and car rentals.

The South Station Amtrak facility is a few miles from the presidential library. This station is the terminus of the Acela, Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional routes. These routes connect Boston to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Richmond, and Virginia Beach.

The North Station Amtrak facility is several blocks away on the other side of downtown. This station is the terminus of the Downeaster route connecting Boston, Portland, and Brunswick.

Driving from almost anywhere on the East Coast to Boston along Interstate 95 is easy. I-90 ends in Boston, and I-84 ends at I-90 just west of Boston.

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No. 14

Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum

Lyndon B. Johnson unexpectedly became the 36th president of the United States when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a parade in Dallas. Discussions about a presidential library did not start until his successful election to a second term in 1964.

In 1966, Johnson announced his presidential library would be built on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Unlike previous libraries that were privately funded, the publicly funded university contributed most of the building funds.

The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum opened in 1971. Designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, the 10-story building is a minimalist design model.

The library’s collection includes 45 million documents, over 600,000 photos, and over 600 hours of recorded phone calls. The building’s interior features the Great Hall – a four-story cavernous room with views of the vast archives through interior windows.

Like many other presidential libraries, there is a full-size replica of Johnson’s Oval Office, an intriguing animatronic LBJ, and dozens of interactive exhibits developed after the library’s renovation in 2012.

It was one of the few presidential sites without an admission fee until 2013 when the museum began charging a modest fee for exploring the exhibits.

Address | 2313 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78705
Phone | 512-721-0200

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How to Get There

The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum is on The University of Texas at Austin campus in Texas. Fortunately, flying, riding a train, or driving to this presidential library is easy.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is a great airport for travel. Most major airlines, including Southwest, American, Delta, United, JetBlue, and Allegiant Air, serve the airport. The airport is connected to public transportation, rideshares, and car rentals.

The Austin Amtrak station is on the south side of downtown Austin near the Colorado River. The station is enclosed with staff, restrooms, and a waiting room. The station is on the Texas Eagle route connecting Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Antonio, with an extension to Los Angeles.

Interstate 35 is the only major highway through Austin. But Interstate 10 is nearby with a cross-country connection.

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No. 15

Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

In 1912, Frank Nixon bought a property in Yorba Linda, California, a suburban city near Los Angeles. The following year, Richard Nixon was born. He spent his early childhood in the small home until the family ranch failed in 1922, forcing the family to move.

When initial plans to build the Nixon Library at his alma mater, Duke University, failed because of protests, plans were moved to the family property in California. Nixon’s childhood home was on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1990, the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace was dedicated before a crowd of 50,000 guests and Presidents H.W. Bush, Ford, and Reagan.

But for the first time since Roosevelt, the National Archives and Records Administration did not initially operate the library.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

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After the infamous Watergate Scandal, Nixon resigned in 1974, shortly after he was inaugurated to his second term. The 1955 Presidential Libraries Act mandated that all presidential materials belonged to the federal government through the National Archives. But Nixon agreed that the tape recordings of his Oval Office meetings surrounding Watergate would be destroyed at a future date.

Congress rushed to pass the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act. The Act was specifically written to preserve Nixon’s presidential materials – the tapes he desperately wanted destroyed. But it inspired the 1978 Presidential Records Act that now applies to all presidents.

In 2004, Congress passed legislation amending the original act targeting Nixon’s presidential materials. 30,000 presidential gifts, millions of documents, and the infamous tapes were transferred from the National Archives to the Nixon Library. The next year, the Nixon Foundation invited the National Archives and Records Administration to operate the site jointly.

It was renamed the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

The 52,000-square-foot facility preserves the presidential records. Exhibit galleries in the museum display documents and artifacts. The campus also includes an exact replica of the East Room of Nixon’s White House as an event space, an intriguing place to spend an evening. But my favorite feature of the 6-acre campus is the VH-3A “Sea King” helicopter used by Nixon while president.

A modest admission fee is required to explore the library, museum, and childhood home.

Address | 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Phone | 714-993-5075
Website | www.nixonfoundation.org

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How to Get There

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is in Yorba Linda, a suburb southeast of Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the best way to fly into the area. The airport is serviced by dozens of airlines from around the world. Although the airport is connected to public transportation and ride-sharing, renting a car is more affordable.

The Fullerton Amtrak station is 6 miles from the presidential library. The enclosed building is staffed and features restrooms and a waiting room. The station is on two routes. The Pacific Surfliner route connects San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The Southwest Chief connects Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and Los Angeles.

Driving to the presidential library is moderately easy because it’s almost 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Interstates 5, 10, and 15 pass closely to the presidential library.

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No. 16

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is the only presidential library separated from the companion presidential museum. The reason behind this distinction is simple but interesting.

In 1965, Representative Gerald R. Ford began donating his congressional papers to the Bentley Historical Society at the University of Michigan, his alma mater, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Because he had already selected the university to house his congressional papers, he donated his presidential papers to a library built on the university’s campus.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library opened in 1981.

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The 50,000-square-foot library’s collection includes 25 million documents, over 3,000 hours of motion picture film, and 450,000 photos. The collection also contains papers from Betty Ford.

There is no admission fee at the library. Although the museum is in Grand Rapids, the library has a small exhibit space with public events.

Address | 1000 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone | 734-205-0555
Website | www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/visit-library.aspx

How to Get There

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a popular tourism destination near Detroit and Toledo.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) is a mid-sized airport about 20 miles from Ann Arbor. The airport is serviced by over a dozen, including Delta, American, United, Southwest, and Air Canada. The airport is too far from Ann Arbor for public transportation, requiring you to get a rental car.

Ann Arbor is along Interstate 94 between Detroit and Grand Rapids. About 15 miles from Ann Arbor, I-94 intersects I-75, one of the primary interstates in the eastern United States.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 17

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

To understand why the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is separate from the presidential library, you must understand Ford’s tragic childhood.

In 1913, Ford was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska. Ford’s parents, Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Gardner, separated just 16 days after his birth after King threatened to kill her and Ford. She fled to Illinois and eventually settled at her parents’ house in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

In 1917, Gardner married Gerald R. Ford, a local salesman. Her young son was renamed Gerald R. Ford, Jr., though his stepfather never formally adopted him. Ford grew up in Grand Rapids and left for the University of Michigan.

In 1981, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum opened in his hometown. The architecturally gorgeous building features a unique triangular design with the 300-foot-long east side, comprised entirely of glass, and overlooks the Grand River. The museum is part of a 20-acre park along the river that includes the Grand Rapids Public Museum and a Riverwalk.

The museum’s exhibits tell Ford’s story of a one-term presidency after he was sworn in following Nixon’s resignation. There is a modest admission fee for exploring the museum, which takes about 1-2 hours.

Address | 303 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone | 616-254-0400
Website | www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/visit-museum.aspx

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How to Get There

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, near Lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful place for a road trip from spring through autumn, but winter travel can be difficult.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) is about 10 miles outside the city. Some airlines that service the airport include Delta, American, United, Southwest, and Allegiant Air. The airport is connected to public transportation, rideshares, and car rentals.

Interstate 96 is the only major highway through Grand Rapids. The interstate connects Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit. Driving to Grand Rapids is more time-consuming because of the fewer highways, but not more difficult.

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No. 18

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

Near the end of President Jimmy Carter’s one term, he raised the issue of building a presidential library for his vast collection of presidential materials. Although Carter was born in Plains, Georgia – where the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park is located – the library committee chose a site in Atlanta.

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum opened in 1986. The library’s collection includes 40 million documents, 1 million photos, and over 2 million feet of motion picture film. The archivists are still cataloging the collection and making records available to the public.

While the library has almost 20,000 feet of storage space for the vast collection, the museum covers about 15,000 square feet. Permanent and temporary exhibit galleries go beyond the story of Carter’s presidency – the exhibits also include his lifelong work as a humanitarian and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

The museum also features a full-size replica of Carter’s Oval Office, a recreation of a Camp David cabin’s interior, and the “Day in the Life of the President” presentation.

A modest admission fee is required for the museum. Visitors can explore the stunning grounds of the library and museum campus without a fee.

Address | 441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Phone | 404-865-7100
Website | www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov

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How to Get There

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is just east of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. It’s an easy destination to fly, ride a train, or drive into. But this is the city where a piece of debris fell off a dump truck and broke my windshield.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is simultaneously a thrilling and overwhelming airport to travel. It’s one of the primary hubs for air travel, making it the busiest airport in the country. Travelers can rent a car, hire a rideshare, or use the Atlanta SkyTrain to travel anywhere in the city.

The Peachtree Amtrak station is north of downtown Atlanta. The enclosed building has restrooms, staff, and a waiting room. The station is on the Crescent route connecting New York, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

Atlanta is also a hub for highway travel in the southeastern United States. Interstates 20, 75, and 85 intersect in the city. These interstates spread across the country, making it easy to drive to Atlanta. The presidential library is conveniently located along the John Lewis Freedom Parkway.

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No. 19

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan hosted a representative of the Hoover Institution at the White House, where he formally accepted their offer to host a presidential library on the Stanford University campus. But, like Nixon’s plans at Duke University, Reagan’s plans for Stanford were derailed.

In 1987, the planned site at Stanford University was replaced by a neutral location in Simi Valley, California, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Ironically, Reagan’s presidential library is 60 miles from Nixon’s.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library opened in 1991. The library’s collections include 50 million documents, almost 2 million photos, and 500,000 feet of motion picture film. Reagan’s papers from his tenure as California’s governor were transferred from Stanford University to the presidential library.

After he died in 2004, Reagan’s body was interred at the presidential library. Nancy was interred with him when she died in 2016.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is the only presidential museum housing Air Force One. The Boeing 707, also designated the Boeing VC-137C, dominates the enclosed Air Force One Pavilion. It’s a rare and fascinating opportunity to board Air Force One.

Other permanent exhibits include an F-117 Nighthawk, an M-1 Abrams Tank, Marine One, a full-size replica of Reagan’s Oval Office, and a section of the Berlin Wall. It’s one of the largest museum displays of any presidential site – plan to spend at least half a day exploring everything.

The modest admission fee includes the vast campus and self-guided tour through the museum.

Address | 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA 93065
Phone | 805-522-2977
Website | www.reaganfoundation.org/library-museum

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How to Get There

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is in Simi Valley, north of the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles, California. Getting to Los Angeles is easy – but getting to the presidential library requires big-city driving skills.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the best way to fly into the area. The airport is serviced by dozens of airlines from around the world. Although the airport is connected to public transportation and ride shares, renting a car is more affordable.

The nearest Amtrak station is Moorpark a few miles away. The station is only a shelter with no facilities. Getting a ride share from the train station to the presidential library is easy. The station is on the Pacific Surfliner route connecting San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Interstate 5 is about 30 miles west of the presidential library. The 118 Freeway effortlessly connects the interstate and the library – depending on the time of day.

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No. 20

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Shortly after President George H.W. Bush took office, he was approached by Texas A&M University alum and friend Michel T. Halbouty about the location of his presidential library. Bush agreed, and 90 acres were set aside for the future presidential site in College Station, Texas.

The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened in 1997.

President Bush died in 2018. After a state funeral at Washington National Cathedral, Bush’s body was transported by a funeral train to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library. He was interred alongside Barbara – she died earlier that same year – and their daughter, Pauline Robinson Bush.

Read More | How to Visit the 39 Presidential Gravesites in the U.S.

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The library’s collection includes 44 million documents and thousands of artifacts from his lengthy political career. The 17,000-square-foot museum features permanent and temporary exhibit galleries.

After a 2007 renovation, the museum features a replica of Bush’s Oval Office. But unlike replicas in other presidential museums, visitors to the Bush Presidential Museum can walk into the replica and sit behind the desk in “The Seat of Power.”

The impressive museum features exhibits about Bush’s career, state gifts, a recreation of his Camp David office, and thousands of artifacts. It takes about 3-4 hours to explore the museum casually – so prepare to spend at least half a day.

A modest admission fee is required to tour the museum. There is no charge for exploring the grounds and visiting the Bush Family gravesite.

Address | 1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, TX 77845
Phone | 979-691-4010
Website | www.bush41.org

How to Get There

Despite the large university in College Station, Texas, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is one of the most remote in the country.

The nearest airport is George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), about 70 miles southeast in Houston. The airport is serviced by United, American, Delta, Southwest, Spirit, and Air Canada. Rental cars are available.

There are no nearby Amtrak stations.

The nearest interstate is I-45, which is about 45 miles away. You can also use I-35 in Waco, about 75 miles from College Station.

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No. 21

William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum

Planning for President Bill Clinton’s presidential library began shortly after his election to a second term in office. The site was an obvious choice – 17 acres along the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Arkansas is Clinton’s home state, where he served as governor before he was elected President of the United States.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum opened on a rainy day in 2004 before a crowd of 30,000, Bono’s performance, and Clinton’s speech.

An interesting way of measuring the sheer enormity of the library’s collections is by tonnage. Eight Lockheed C-5 Galaxy planes – the largest in the United States military – transported over 600 tons of presidential materials.

The Clinton library is one of my favorites because the president wanted it filled with natural light. The five-story main building is narrow and long, modeled after the Long Room at the Old Library of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. The most interesting thing about the building is the private rooftop golf course.

The museum features permanent and temporary exhibition galleries. The permanent exhibits include interactive displays interpreting Clinton’s history from his time as governor and president. Like many other presidential museums, there is a full-size replica of Clinton’s Oval Office. But unlike the others, there is also a full-size replica of Clinton’s Cabinet Room.

The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge is my favorite part of this library and museum. Built in 1899, it was restored as a pedestrian-only bridge in 2011. The 15-mile Arkansas River Trail crosses the bridge, although there is nothing to see or do on the other side of the river.

A modest admission fee is required for the museum. But, visitors can explore the 17-acre riverfront park and walk across the pedestrian bridge without a charge.

Address | 1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone | 501-370-8000
Website | www.clintonfoundation.org/clinton-presidential-center/#

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How to Get There

The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is conveniently located in Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas.

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) is a mid-sized airport serviced by American Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines, United, and Allegiant Air. The airport connects to public transportation, ride shares, and rental cars.

Union Station opened in 1921, the third passenger train station in Little Rock. The Amtrak station is on the Texas Eagle route, a lengthy route connecting Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Antonio, extending to Los Angeles.

Interstates 30 and 40 intersect in Little Rock. This is the north terminus of I-30 that connects Dallas and Little Rock. I-40 crosses the country from Wilmington, North Carolina to Barstow, California, making it easy to drive to Little Rock.

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Where to Stay

No. 22

George W. Bush Presidential Center

Before George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States, officials at Baylor University courted him to build his presidential library on their campus. Unlike previous presidential libraries built in places with personal connections to the president, Bush solicited bids from universities and cities to host his presidential site.

In 2008, plans were announced to build the presidential library on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, Texas. The George W. Bush Presidential Center opened in 2013.

In 2023, the Bush Presidential Center became the first presidential library and museum since Hoover not to be operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. Although the presidential center is operated by the George W. Bush Foundation, NARA has input on exhibits and retains ownership of all presidential materials.

The 207,000-square-foot presidential library is the second-largest after the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Permanent exhibits include a full-size replica of Bush’s Oval Office, emotional exhibits about Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, and interactive exhibits exploring Bush’s presidency.

The moderate admission fee includes all exhibits in the museum. Parking in the visitor parking lot near the museum is an additional $10 for the first four hours.

Address | 2943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75205
Phone | 214-200-4300
Website | www.bushcenter.org

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Where to Park

The Bush Center Visitor Parking is across SMU Boulevard near the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Parking costs $10 for the first 4 hours and $1 for each additional half hour.

How to Get There

The good and bad news about the George W. Bush Presidential Center is that it’s in Dallas, Texas. This is good because flying, riding a train, or driving to the presidential center is easy. But it’s bad because of how busy Dallas is year-round.

Dallas Love Field (DAL) is the closest airport. It’s a regional airport served by Southwest Airlines, Delta, and Alaska Airlines. The best airport in the area is Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), about 15 miles away. Some airlines that service DFW include American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest Airlines, Spirit, and British Airways.

Both airports have connections to public transportation, ride shares, and rental cars.

The Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station is at the southern edge of downtown Dallas. The Amtrak station is on the Texas Eagle route, a lengthy route connecting Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Antonio, extending to Los Angeles.

The presidential center is adjacent to U.S. Highway 74, north of downtown Dallas. Interstates 20, 30, 35E, and 45 intersect in Dallas, making it easy to travel from almost anywhere in the country to the big city.

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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
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