In honor of Presidents Day, a U.S. federal holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday of February to recognize the country’s first President George Washington, let’s take a look at some related museums and attractions:
1.National Presidential Wax Museum
Located near Mt. Rushmore, this museum not only has realistic life-sized wax figures of every President of the United States, but also important historical items like Bill Clinton’s saxophone (but not one of his cigars) and Florida’s 2000 Presidential election’s controversial ballot boxes.
2.The City of Presidents
If you want to see all the U.S. Presidents together, there’s only one place to go and that’s Rapid City, South Dakota. Located over several blocks of downtown, life-size bronze statutes depict the leaders in various poses, like George W. Bush holding his beloved dog Barney and Rutherford B. Hayes walking into obscurity.
3.They Also Ran Gallery
This one is my personal favorite, probably because it’s the most random. For the last fifty years, a bank in Kansas celebrates all 60 losers of the U.S. presidential elections from Rufus King (who?) and James B. Weaver (excuse me?) to recent candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney.
4.The Museum of the American Presidency
A high school in San Diego has a collection of presidential memorabilia displayed in the school library. Items include Bill Clinton’s golf shoes, a smiling Richard Nixon shower head, a 1980s “First Family Paper Doll Book” and a miniature “JFK 464” license plate (never used of course).
5.The Atlanta White House
Who out there doesn’t enjoy a good replica? Fred Milani, an Irani businessman, built himself and his family a ¾-scale model of the White House, which includes an Oval Office, a recreation of Lincoln’s bedroom, and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Do I see a recurring theme here?
6.American Freedom Museum
This Texas museum begins with the Battle of Lexington and ends during the War on Terror. Along the way visitors can admire a lock of George Washington’s hair, read a poem written by John Quincy Adams and check out the Hall of Presidents, which features documents signed by every President from George Washington to Barack Obama.
7.One and Only Presidential Museum
A man in Ohio, Nick Pahys, believes George Washington wasn’t the first U.S. President and opened a museum to prove his point. Before the U.S. Constitution there was this thing called the Articles of Confederation, so actually John Hanson deserves the title (even though he had no real executive power but whatever). Adorning the 2-story wood frame museum are portraits and hand-painted signs with such exclamations as “George W. Bush is not the 43rd President of the United States…he will never be…whether you like it or not.”
8.Miracle of America Museum
Apparently the birth of America is a miracle, kind of like when the U.S. Hockey team beat the Russians in 1980. Founded by Gil and Joanne Mangles over thirty years ago, this museum in Montana displays everything Americana from the last 150 years.
9.The Presidents Hall of Fame
Of course there cannot be just one wax museum dedicated to U.S. Presidents (see the top of the list). One of Florida’s oldest roadside attractions, not only can visitors sign the Declaration of Independence with the Founding Fathers (the Mothers were busy making the costumes for the wax statues), but can also check out replicas of White House china and miniature versions of White House rooms.
10.Sixth Floor Museum
Four U.S. Presidents were assassinated while in office, but the most famous one will probably always be JFK. Located in the space where Lee Harvey Oswald fired his famous shots, the museum features films, photographs, and artifacts that chronicle Kennedy’s life and death.