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US Presidents Sites – Visiting the William McKinley Presidential Museum in Canton, Ohio
The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is unlike any other presidential museum. Originally intended only as the final resting place of our 25th President, it has effectively reinvented itself as a museum campus. The site attracts not only those interested in McKinley and presidential history, but also students of other scientific disciplines.
Located off Interstate 77 in Canton, Ohio, the towering memorial can be seen for miles. McKinley was tragically murdered in September 1901 and was interred in a temporary grave until a suitable memorial could be planned and constructed. Six years later, the McKinley Memorial was dedicated and is where the president and his family are buried.
Today, fitness enthusiasts walk or run the 108 steps leading up to the memorial’s entrance, and it’s a popular gathering place for school groups, continuing education classes, and visitors. On site, visitors will find an active planetarium, an exhibit space dedicated to McKinley memorabilia, and rotating exhibits focusing on various aspects of American history.
One of the most popular attractions is Shop Street, a museum-like display of shops circa 1900. Various artifacts from this period are on display, such as early model firefighters and machinery used during this era. There is also an on-site museum shop that offers a wide variety of engaging items for all levels of interest.
The site is open daily and there is a nominal entry fee. Visitors should allow around an hour to see all the different exhibits, which rotate frequently and often feature artifacts from the Smithsonian and other presidential museums.
While McKinley and his family once owned a home in Canton and planned to return here after his second term as president, the home has not been preserved and no longer exists. His wife’s home, also located in Canton, is now the First Ladies Library, dedicated to America’s first ladies. The building is where the McKinley family lived when the future president and his wife first married.
Canton is also known for several popular local restaurants in the nearby downtown area, each of which makes a great stop for lunch or dinner. The town is probably best known for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located a five-minute drive from the McKinley Memorial Museum.
If you are traveling to or from Cleveland, we highly recommend stopping in Canton. For sports fans, the Football Hall of Fame is a must-see, while anyone with even a passing interest in history will appreciate a visit to the McKinley Museum campus.
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