Leaders in Literacy


Current Exhibit : Apr 30, 2024 - Apr 30, 2025

Leaders in Literacy - Laura Leaders in Literacy - Eleanor

From one-room schoolteachers such as Abigail Filmore and Lucretia Garfield, to Eleanor Roosevelt’s Arthurdale experiment, to Barbara and Laura Bush’s literacy initiatives, to current First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s college teaching, these powerful women have provided opportunities for empowering the young minds of our country to learn, grow, and thrive through education.

Come and visit the newest of the First Ladies’ rotating museum exhibits, the Leaders in Literacy: First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians limited-time 2024-2025 exhibit, presented by Huntington Bank, where we take you on a tour through the history of the many academics that held the title of First Lady.

In addition to a collection of personal effects and artifacts from our First Ladies compendium, the Leaders in Literacy museum exhibit also contains artifacts related to First Ladies Barbara and Laura Bush from the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush Presidential Museums. Also featured is a vast collection loaned out from West Virginia’s Arthurdale Heritage Museum focused on First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s efforts to revitalize education initiatives for the impoverished citizens of Arthurdale.

Alongside Leaders in Literacy, we also feature our Reading Reimagined interactive exhibit — a replica one-room schoolhouse — which coincides with our “Little Leaders” reading program geared toward engaging children from pre-K to 4th grade.

Leaders in Literacy: First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians runs through April 2025. Plan your visit today.

Also on view

Your ticket to travel through history at the National First Ladies Library & Museum

The National First Ladies Library & Museum houses a fascinating array of exhibits to help you learn more about the women who helped build our country. Start your journey into history and get inspired with every stop along the way.

Saxton-McKinley House

The Saxton-McKinley House

The historic Saxton-McKinley House is the childhood home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley, the wife of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley. The home, nestled in downtown Canton on Market Avenue south, was built in the 1840s, and it served as the Canton residence for President and Mrs. McKinley during his presidency in the late 1890s. The home was meticulously restored to its grand Victorian roots in the mid-1990s to reflect First Lady Ida McKinley’s life in the home. The Saxton-McKinley House was the first home of the National First Ladies Library and opened to the public in 1998. Today, it is part of the First Ladies National Historic Site, with the National Park Service providing tours of the home three times per day during open hours.

Lady Bird Special Liz Carpenter

First Ladies on the Campaign Trail

The First Ladies on the Campaign Trail exhibition celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of First Ladies in the campaign arena. Campaign time creates a dilemma for modern First Ladies. They must convey a positive message and glamorous look that can contribute to their husband’s campaigns. However, if they publicly stumble, they can hurt their husbands’ presidential contest chances. How do they maneuver through all the media attention while focusing on their husband’s campaign strategy?

During an election year, it is always appropriate to reflect on the role of the First Ladies on the campaign trail. This exhibit is on display through December 2024.

One room Schoolhouse

Interactive One-Room Schoolhouse

On the second floor of the museum, children will delight in learning about education in the 1800s by sitting in the wooden seats of a real-life replica schoolhouse. They can explore to their hearts content by writing on the old-fashioned slates, playing with the Victorian-era wooden toys, and ringing the old-fashioned schoolbell. A wonderful family activity!

First Ladies Film

First Ladies Revealed

This film exhibit, which can be seen in the theater on the lower level of the museum, invites a nuanced understanding of the First Lady's role, revealing the intellectual and strategic minds that have shaped American history from the White House. Move beyond the ceremonial sash. This exhibit delves into the lives of America's First Ladies, revealing their profound impact on the nation's narrative.

Leaders in Literacy

4/30/2024 through 4/30/2025

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First Ladies as Teachers, Educators, and Librarians.

The right to an education is a foundational principle of America’s history, and many First Ladies have taken up this cause. We celebrate National First Ladies Day by kicking off this featured exhibit, presented by Huntington Bank.