One day a couple of months ago I got an email asking if I’d ever visited the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. I responded with, “no, isn’t that going to be boring for my six and eight year olds?” I was assured that no, it would not be boring, so off we went for a (skeptical) visit.
This house on Delaware Street in Downtown Indianapolis was built by our 23rd president (back before he was president) and his wife in 1875. On the tour you can stand in the exact spot Mr. Harrison stood the moment he found out he was to be the next president of the United States, you can see the presidential china that Mrs. Harrison painted herself, and you can listen to a Reginaphone just as the Harrisons would have over 100 years ago.
Unlike some historic landmarks, few areas of the house are roped off or inaccessible to the public. My boys loved this because they could actually get up close and look at these pieces of history instead of just squint at them from afar. The staff and volunteers at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site are also really friendly and inviting towards kids, asking the kids questions and putting things in terms that kids can understand. I think this kept my guys from getting bored, and it made me a fan for life.
Here’s a funny side note: in preparation for this post I took my boys back today, just to get a better picture of them in front of the house. I got the pictures then turned back to the car. Big Boy (8) said, “wait, aren’t we going to go in?!” He was really disappointed that I hadn’t planned to make a trip of it! Unfortunately we were too late to be part of the last tour of the day, but I promised we would go back on Saturday. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is!
The first two floors are the house’s living quarters where about 80% of what you see actually belonged to the family. The third floor was the home’s ballroom and is now used to house traveling exhibits. The current exhibit, Raising the Hem, features changing fashion over there years. It has some really cool pieces on displays from former First Ladies and has some fun interactive pieces the kids will love.
This tour is a great opportunity for you and your family to learn more about the only President to come out of Indiana, and I definitely recommend it for school-age kids. Under 5 are welcome, but I think they might find it boring. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids, ages 4 and under free. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m and Sundays (June and July only) 12pm to 3:30pm, with tours starting on the half-hour.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site 1230 N Delaware St - Indianapolis Details
Steph is a full time homeschooling mama to two little boys and. She enjoys grand adventures and baking. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, boys, scheming cat and big dog. You can find more of her on her blog Indy Homeschool.