Road to the White House includes Presidential, first lady sites

Press Staff Writer

        The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums has partnered with nine other historic sites to launch a new program for middle school students and their families, called “Road to the White House.”
        The fun and educational experience is designed to immerse participants in interactive games and adventures that play out among interpreters, museums and historic buildings. The program is geared toward youths ages 11-14.
        Students can heed the call of this adventure through Thursday, Sept. 30.
        Participants will travel around Ohio, with a pit stop in Indiana, hone their leadership skills as they complete activities, and “collect artifacts” by collecting stamps, all while learning about Ohio and Indiana’s presidents and our nation’s first ladies.
        Road to the White House developed from a conversation started by the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau with Hayes Presidential staff last year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many eighth-graders were unable to take their traditional field trips to Washington, D.C., so the visitors bureau asked if a “drive-it-yourself” opportunity for middle school students and their families and friends could be created.
        “We jumped at the idea and loved partnering with our fellow presidential sites to highlight all the cool presidential and first lady history right here in the Midwest,” said Christie Weininger, Hayes Presidential executive director. “We wanted this project to be really engaging for the students, many of whom took virtual classes this past year and may be feeling disconnected. Kids who participate in Road to the White House are going to experience these presidential and first lady sites, and their amazing artifact collections, in ways no one else gets to.
        “Plus, each site's activity reinforces good leadership habits. I can't wait to see middle schoolers and their friends or families working together on these activities and hopefully having great conversations about what they learned on their drive back home. For those who don't feel safe traveling yet, or aren't able to travel for whatever reason, we've also offered some virtual options. We tried to make this project as accessible as possible."
        At each site that participants encounter on the Road to the White House, they will complete an activity that highlights a specific leadership skill. Activities are geared towards middle school students, but all school-aged children can participate. Questors who complete the mission will earn a prize.
        At Hayes Presidential, participants will explore the grounds, museum, library and home of the 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes. They can enjoy an in-person scavenger hunt around the site or go online for a virtual escape room and explore Hayes Presidential’s virtual museum.
        Participation in this program is free, however some sites charge admission fees. The cost of admission varies from site to site. Road to the White House activities are included in the cost of each site’s admission. There is no charge for virtual activities.
        “This summer program is a great opportunity for families to learn and experience historic sites together,” said Joan Eardly, Hayes Presidential education coordinator. “As they make their way around the state, either in person or virtually, kids can learn about historic sites, culture, presidents and first ladies, while honing leadership skills and participating in some really fun activities like scavenger hunts, military expeditions and escape rooms. It’s a really great way for us all to connect with our community.”
        The Ohio History Connection provided technical support for the project. The Road to the White House sites include:
        • First Ladies National Historic Site/National First Ladies’ Library, Canton,
        • Fort Meigs Historic Site, Perrysburg,
        • James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Mentor,
        • U.S. Grant Birthplace, Point Pleasant,
        • U.S. Grant Boyhood Home & Schoolhouse, Georgetown,
        • Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites, Marion,
        • Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis, Indiana, (This site is included because Harrison was born in Ohio.).
        • Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, Fremont,
        • William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, Canton,
        • William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Cincinnati,
        For information, call 419-332-2081, visit, like HPLM on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at @rbhayespres and Instagram at rbhayespres.


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