Seven days, nine museums. I’ve been counting Presidential burial sites from the beginning, but I hadn’t done the math on how many museums or museum-esque structures we visited on this trip till just now. In all that’s counting:
- the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums at Spiegel Grove
- the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House
- the Museum of Art at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute
- the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum
- the National Constitution Center
- the Betsy Ross House, which in my book has enough artifacts to qualify
- the Museum of the American Revolution
- the Heinz History Museum
…and the subject of our next chapter. It wasn’t a primary objective, but it was next door to one, and we had a little money left in the budget for their ticket prices. We figured why not add one more to the roster.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Normally we’ll choose one major locale as our primary objective, drive that-a-way, and concentrate on exploring the vicinity for a few days before retreating.
We crafted this year’s itinerary with a different approach. Instead of choosing one city as a hub, we focused on one of the motifs that’s recurred through several of our trips: grave sites of Presidents of the United States of America. Our 2018 road trip would effectively have the format and feel of a video game side quest — collecting nine American Presidents across ten presidencies, four states, seven days, and 2000 miles…
The William McKinley Memorial was mere footsteps away from the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, est. 1946. While it featured moments and artifacts from his life, it also serves as a de facto Stark County History Museum, covering the life and times of the area surrounding Canton, Ohio, and anything local that was out-of-scope for their more famous Pro Football Hall of Fame. A few sights were unique; a few sights were familiar to anyone who’s been to a science, natural history, or children’s museum.
Abrupt braking right here for possibly the coolest thing we saw in there: Ida’s 200-diamond tiara with gold and platinum parts, made by a New York City jeweler sometime between 1885 and 1906. True story: the museum acquired the tiara in a 2014 episode of the long-running History Channel series Pawn Stars. The museum held a fundraiser that, thanks to contributions from 400+ folks and entities, tallied up $43,000.00 for the purchase.
The shop wasn’t doing it to gouge the museum. It was a fundraiser on their end, too. Co-owner Rick Harrison donated $40,000 of that sum to epilepsy charities. As Ida dealt with it in adulthood after their two daughters died, Harrison lived with it as a kid. Two lives connecting through a single beautiful headpiece.
And now, back to exhibits for which we don’t have great stories:
…and with that we were officially off-topic. Right around the “Discover World” area is when homesickness kicked in again and we decided it was time to move on. We were still five hours from home with one last dead President to check out, and no convenient high-speed interstates leading to him.
To be continued!
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[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]