Our modern Presidents received educations and participated in school activities in ways as diverse as their backgrounds and their political philosophies.
Some of the Presidents attended neighborhood public schools, and some of them learned in rural classrooms; others studied under tutors and attended prestigious private schools. Many of the Presidents participated in extracurricular activities and organized sports while they attended school.
The challenges of studying various subjects, completing homework, forming new ideas, participating in extracurricular activities, and making friends are part of the common heritage of an American education shared by everyone—including our Presidents. This is the premise of the exhibit opening at the National Archives at Kansas City, called “School House to White House: The Education of the Presidents.” It charts the educational experiences of our Presidents from Herbert Hoover to William J. Clinton, including such notable documents as:
- Herbert Hoover’s diploma, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, 1896
- Franklin D. Roosevelt’s letter home to parents while at Groton, September 27, 1896
- Harry Truman’s second grade report card, Columbian School, Independence, Missouri, 1894
- Dwight Eisenhower’s Abilene High School diploma, Abilene, Kansas, 1909
- Health records of John F. Kennedy, written by his mother, Rose Kennedy, 1917–28
- Lyndon Baines Johnson’s high school graduation invitation, 1924
- Richard Nixon’s school paper, “Autobiography,” written in eighth grade, 1925
- Gerald Ford’s letter to his mother, Dorothy Ford, wishing her a happy Mother’s Day, May 12, 1933
- Jimmy Carter’s Georgia School of Technology report card, Atlanta, Georgia, 1943
- Ronald Reagan’s French exam, Dixon High School, Dixon, Illinois, ca. 1925
- Letter from Barbara Pierce (Bush) to Poppy (George H.W. Bush), Charleston, South Carolina, 1942
- Bill Clinton at Miss Mary’s Kindergarten, Hope, Arkansas, May 6, 1950
Through the records of the presidential libraries—archival material, museum objects, and photographs as well as audio and visual material—”School House to White House” gives the public a new perspective on the presidency. It allows visitors to make connections and comparisons between their own education and the variety of educational experiences of our leaders.
Developed jointly by the museum and archival staffs of the presidential libraries and the museum staff of the National Archives Experience in Washington, DC, the exhibit explores these future Presidents’ activities in grade school, high school, college, and after graduation. Other sections of the exhibit focus on the importance of home life in their education and describe participation in extracurricular activities and sports as well as each President’s reflections later in life on his education.
This exhibit runs through February 23, 2013
National Archives at Kansas City
400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108
Research Rooms: 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Exhibits: 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
This exhibit could provide research data for several requirements in both Our Heritage and Dawn of Our Country.