Saturday, August 6, 2011

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

(Iowa City, IA) Hi 88 Lo 71 – Still humid and sticky.  We only had one thing in mind today, going to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. It's in the town of West Branch, which is about 10 miles east of us just off I-80. We left around noon. We took the truck so Jim could fill it with diesel for Monday's trip.

We were expecting to arrive at a quiet, small town with maybe a few folks at the museum. Boy, were we surprised to find traffic, crowds, and vendors set up all over the place! We got the attention of a police officer and found out that we happened to come on "Hoover Day," the one day each year they celebrate Hoover's birthday with a street festival. We had no idea! We were very lucky to find a place to park, so we joined the festivities. For this one day the admission to the library and museum is free. There were vendors and artists all around the area.  (Click on pictures to make larger).
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They also had some Civil War re-enactors set up camp and give programs on life during the Civil War. It was fun to hear them talk about and describe their clothes and equipment.
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Herbert Hoover was born in this little house.

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The house has only two rooms, one of which is this bedroom.
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The Library and Museum. We spent a couple of hours looking at all the exhibits about Hoover's life, from his childhood here in West Branch, all the way through his post-President life.
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Hoover was President during the Great Depression and basically took a "hands off" approach to trying to improve the economy. Of course he got blamed for the whole thing. And one of the write-ups described how there were those in the Congress who disagreed with everything he did, just to disagree with him. Sounds kind of familiar to what's going on today. But the nice thing about Hoover is, despite the problems he had as President, he more than restored his reputation with all his humanitarian projects and goodwill missions as ex-President.

There was a special exhibit called School House to White House. It had displays of photos and report cards for all the Presidents from Hoover through George Bush, along with other education-related things like old school desks. We found out that not all of our Presidents did real well in school; in fact some were pretty mediocre.
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Each of these desks has mounted on the desktop a reproduction of a report card from a President's childhood. There a lot of A's, but also quite a few C's and D's.
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What a surprise it was to experience all the extra excitement of this special day! And Jim can check off another Presidential Library. Three down and 10 to go!

We got something to eat on the way home, fueled up the truck, and relaxed in the air-conditioned comfort of our home on wheels for the rest of the evening.


Chris said...

Hoover's Presidential museum is my favorite and we've been to them all! What a pleasant surprise getting to know the man, and what a delightful little town - West Branch. Hard to believe it gets as busy as you describe and show. When we were there we had the ranger all to ourselves to show us around! See the presidential museums in our blog:

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

How lucky to have picked just that day to go :) I'm sure the experience was enhanced by the celebration and you sure can't do much better than free admission! :)

Rick and Elaine NB said...

This place will have to go onto my 'bucket list' so glad you got to enjoy the celebration...sry its so hot and humid...nice gentle breeze blowing here...and sunny...

Kevin and Evelyn said...

Good thing you went to the movies the day before. You got a bargain at the movies and free admission to the Hoover Museum. Bonus!

We were there several years ago. Interesting place. It was not at all crowded when we went.