Every year, the third Monday in February is set aside to celebrate Presidents’ Day. Originally celebrated as Washington’s Birthday (and it still is by the Federal Government!), since the Uniform Monday Holidays Act of 1971 it has been broadened to include a recognition and celebration of all US Presidents.
Moms, that gives you a week to prepare something special – I’d say these days are a good time to revisit the significance of the office and teach our children the value of the Presidency to our Democratic-Republic form of government.
So in honor of that special occasion, we are republishing a post that our friend Wendy Bellacomo wrote some time back about a local “attraction” we are privileged to have in our area. We hope it spurs you on to creating your own special celebration/teaching moment for next week’s holiday!
Celebrate Presidents’ Day in Southwest Georgia!
All politics aside, can you think of a better way to celebrate Presidents Day than with an actual former United States President and First Lady? I didn’t think so! So, load up the family and make your way to Plains, Georgia, (population 776 ), located in the southwest corner of the state. Take a tour of the Plains High School Museum, now a part of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, and you just may catch President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalind. They often appear and speak about their time in the White House followed by a short question and answer session, offering a rare chance to interact with a former President.
Make a day of it and take some time to explore Plains, the tiny town that was the birthplace of our 39th President. The former Plains High School, where the talk will take place, serves as the visitor center for the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and is also a museum, offering a glimpse of the school the Carters attended with a restored and furnished classroom, principal’s office and auditorium, along with a video and other exhibits on the Carters’ lives in Plains.
Jimmy Carter began his race for the Presidency in downtown Plains. Just a short distance from the high school, visit the Plains Train Depot where a newly renovated self-guided museum focuses on the 1976 Presidential campaign. The building served as a train depot from 1888 to 1951, when passenger service to the area was discontinued. The building was re-opened in 1976 as Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Campaign Headquarters, and during that time approximately 10,000 people a day came to Plains to find out about candidate Carter.
While not a part of the National Historic Site, another point of interest in Plains is the Billy Carter Service Station Museum. Billy was the President’s fun-loving and outspoken brother, and his service station became well-known as the town hot spot during the campaign and presidency. The museum includes colorful articles from Billy Carter’s closet, commendations from around the world, press coverage from the 1970s and 80s, and “Billy Beer” paraphernalia.
On the outskirts of town, don’t miss the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Home. Now part of the National Historic Site, this the farm where Jimmy Carter lived from the age of four until he left for college. It has been restored to its appearance before electricity was installed in 1938 and is a fascinating look at rural Georgia life of the time. Listen to Carter’s own voice tell stories of his childhood at various push button audio stations. You can explore the farmhouse, outbuildings, gardens, neighbor’s home and the farm store that supplied the needs of many of the farm workers. This is also a great place for the kids to burn some energy as there is plenty of wide open space to run and play. They will also enjoy seeing the farm animals that live on-site, including several friendly cats.
Few U.S. presidents are so closely intertwined with the place where they were born and raised as Jimmy Carter is with Plains. A visit to Plains offers an opportunity to feel the excitement of a presidential campaign, hear President Carter talk about life on the farm and sit in the very classroom where he learned. Today, President Carter lives literally just down the street from all of this history of his own making at a modest private residence in Plains.
The History of Presidents’ Day
Enjoy this short video with your kiddos:
And this is a great time to complete one of TechieHomeschoolMom’s Unit Studies on the U.S. Presidency!
Add in some recommended Presidential biographies, for more in-depth studies…
Lincoln: The Biography of a WriterThe Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789Theodore Roosevelt: A LifeThomas Jefferson: A LifeJohn Quincy Adams: American VisionaryFirst Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents (I just couldn’t resist including this one!)
And there you have a wonderful day of learning about Presidents’ Day!
What are your plans? Have any resources you enjoy? We’d love to hear about them in the comments…
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