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First Ladies National Historic Site and Library


Saxton House - First Ladies National Historic Site - Canton Ohio

Saxton-McKinley House

(courtesy of the First Ladies National Site)
First Ladies Library - Canton Ohio

First Ladies Library

(courtesy of the First Ladies Library)

Take a step back in time as you tour the National First Ladies Library. Located in the heart of downtown Canton, the First Ladies National Historic Site, opened to the public in 2000, is the former home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley.

The Education and Research Center is located just one block away and includes special exhibits, library, reading room and Victorian Theatre. Tours of both locations are guided by docents dressed in First Ladies' period costumes.

First Ladies National Historic Site:

The Saxton-McKinley house was the home of William and Ida McKinley when the former president served in Congress. It has been completely restored to represent the McKinley era and is decorated with period-correct furniture and décor. Rooms on display include a parlor, library, sitting room, and bedroom.

The restored ballroom was the site of many parties since the Saxtons were a very prominent family in Canton. This gorgeous room now displays photos and information on each of the 41 First Ladies.

The Gift Shop:

The National First Ladies' Library Gift Shop is located on the second level of the First Ladies National Historic Site. Browse the unique selection of gifts and collectibles that all have a First Ladies' theme. Select pieces to treasure of your favorite First Ladies' China; each piece can be purchased individually. Collect First Ladies' themed ornaments; new this year is the Lady “Bird” Johnson ornament. There are also sweatshirts, t-shirts, books and themed note cards, puzzles, fact cards, pencils and gifts for children from which to choose.


Exhibits at the Education and Research Center change every four to six months, giving visitors a reason to come back and learn about something new. 

Victorian Theater:

The 91-seat Victorian Theatre is located on the lower level of the Education and Research Center. Films, documentaries, live presentations, and author lectures take place in this beautiful theater. These events are open to the public of all ages. Reservations are required and some charge a fee. Many schools take advantage of these programs as field trips; admission is free for students.

The Library:

The second floor of the Education and Research Center is dedicated to the library. The collection includes over 6000 books, 300 videos, 6,000 photos and slides of First Ladies, 500 First Lady artifacts including dresses and accessories, and authors' research papers that can be reviewed while at the library.

First Ladies Research Online:

The First Ladies Library offers an array of online resources, available to the public free of charge. Study each First Lady of the United States with complete biographies, bibliographies, juvenile biographies, manuscripts, and timelines of important events associated with her lifetime.

Also available online is a complete educational curricula for all grade levels from elementary through secondary school. The curricula is easy to navigate through and download. The full lesson plans focus not only on each First Lady but on history during her life. The lesson plans meet National and State standards.

Contact Information:

National First Ladies' Library
205 Market Avenue South
Canton, OH 44702

Hours and Admission:

Tours of the First Ladies National Historic Site are given Tuesday through Saturday at 930am, 1030am, 1230pm, 130pm, and 230pm. Additional hours are offered during the summer months.

Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $5 for children 18 and younger. Free parking is available.

Hotels near the First Ladies National Historic Site:

Hotels near the First Ladies National Historic Site include the elegant McKinley Grand Hotel (check rates), located right across the street from the site. Other area hotels include the Canton Residence Inn (check rates) and the Fairfield Inn (check rates).

(Last updated 10-3-13)

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