When I visited Atlanta (Coke Musuem Post, Six Flags Over Georgia Post) at the tail end of 2018 I purchased a Family Membership ($40) for the Jimmy Carter Museum (Carter Post). One because the reciprocity agreements allows patrons to visit any of the Presidential Libraries and because I was genuinely curious to learn more about our great leaders. Through this membership I had already visited several local Presidential Museums (Reagan Post, Nixon Post) and next up on my list was President Gerald Ford – the only President who was neither elected to Vice-President nor President. Aside from ascending the ranks without the people’s votes (he was appointed by Nixon, before he resigned) there were several things that were different about this President. One is that his Museum and Library are in two separate locations. The Museum is located in Grand Rapids and the Library is in Ann Arbor. I didn’t get a chance to see the library but from several reviews it appeared that the Museum was the main attraction. Second, Ford graduated from the University of Michigan and was recruited to play for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers (!!!); however, he turned both down and decided to work as an Assistant Varsity Football Coach at Yale University and applied to their Law School – wow!
I spent several hours in this museum reading and learning about Ford’s legacy and I think his leadership in Operation Baby Lift – a mission that evacuated more than 3,000 orphans from North Vietnam in April 1975 spoke to me most. I live in an area that has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam and these immigrants work ethic and culture truly makes Southern California more rich and diverse. I can only imagine how grateful those children were and how had changed their lives.
What kind of legacy would you like to leave?
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
As I was researching things to do I came across Lakeview Cemetery as a popular attraction. I thought it was an unusual destination especially since Cleveland is known for the lively Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but many reviews commented on the spectacular architecture and stainless glass windows so I decided to make a it a pitstop on my Midwest Roadtrip.
My friend and I drove into the cemetery and headed towards Section 18. While the cemetery was vast and had many elaborate tombstones spread across the plot of land, we found the memorial site fairly easily as it was the tallest building there. There were three floors and two narrow spiral staircases for patrons to climb. The artwork inside and outside were very ornate and because it was a sunny day we were able to see the vibrant colors shine through. My friend and I paid also our respects to the president in the crypt.
James Garfield was our 20th President; however his term was short lived as he was assassinated 6 months into his term. Nevertheless, he was an important figure in history as he was one of the first sitting members of Congress to be elected to the presidency. The exhibition is a great place to visit as it’s both educational and free!
Have you visited Cleveland? What’s a cool attraction you’ve seen?
President James Garfield Memorial – Lake View Cemetery 12316 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106 (216) 421-2665
Hours: Garfield Memorial is undergoing a restoration process and will be CLOSED to the public from July 10 through at least July 24.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to check out the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA as a part of my Presidential Library Membership perks. I purchased my membership through the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum when I visited Atlanta in Fall 2019 (Post here), and while many may automatically think Watergate scandal he had many notable accomplishment while in office particularly his role in ending the Vietnam War and re-establishing diplomatic relationships with China.
It’s been several years since I last visited the Nixon Library and while the facility remains the same, the layout and presentation has been updated. There are more touch-screen interactive exhibits and creative photo opportunities. They have a replica of of the oval office presented in the same style while he was in office as well collections of items from his campaign. After Nixon’s presidency he went on to write 10 books and continued to do speaking engagements around the world. I think as a person he’s lived quite an adventurous life and this museum documents indiscriminately his highs and lows.
When you feel down or defeated what do you do to keep going?
During my Atlanta Trip in 2018, I applied for an Annual Presidential Library Membership with the mindset of visiting several POTUS museums in 2019. I learned a lot about Jimmy Carter’s presidency (Jimmy Carter Post) when I was in the Peach State and now that I’m back in SoCal my friends and I took a short roadtrip to learn all about Ronald Reagan’s Presidency in Simi Valley, CA.
This museum is located on top of a mountain and overlooks the valley. The view is quite spectacular and while the setting is very picturesque, the museum facility is very interactive and engaging. There were tons of short movie clips, physical artifacts, and they even have an Air Force 1 and guests could step inside and see what it’s like to ride like a VIP.
Reagan is probably best known as the actor turned president; however, he was one of three presidents (at that time) to serve 2 terms and is best known for helping to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union! I don’t think I could ever do something as brave as that, but I’d want people to know me as the adventurer who shared the world’s best hidden gems.
I love incorporating museums into my travels and during my trip to Atlanta I bookmarked the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. as one of my destinations. I didn’t know too much about this former POTUS and was really surprised about the contributions he and the first lady made in helping our country particularly Rosalynn’s work calling for mental illnesses to be covered by insurance just like physical illnesses.
During my visit, I spent around 2.5 hours wandering the exhibit reading all the plaques and studying the various artifacts and sets. Jimmy Carter is best known for growing up on a peanut farm and facilitating a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt at Camp David during his presidency. After watching various short clips regarding the Camp David Accord, I can safely say that I wouldn’t be capable of mediating that hostile intervention – he’s incredibly brave to take on such a monumental task!
As a lover of learning, I opted for the Family Membership ($40), which allows me to bring up to 3 guests and visit any Presidential Libraries and Museums across the United States. With a day adult admission costing $8 (at the Carter museum) and my plan to visit at least two others in 2019 this deal seemed like a no brainier. I can’t wait to exercise this membership in other states.
What presidential library would you be most eager to visit? (Reagan, Clinton, Bush etc?)