The Eisenhower Birthplace in Denison hosts many activities for children and families throughout the year. Going into the fall, the birthplace is hosting several educational opportunities for people to learn about the history of Denison as well as the 34th president of the United States.
The site’s summer activity, the Tuesday Trekkers allowed children ages 5-9 to strap on their birthplace fanny packs to discover how to handle artifacts at the birthplace, work on the railroad and garden like the Eisenhower family did in 1890.
“There is a lot of presidential history in Texas, with four presidents having some claim to Texas,” Eisenhower Birthplace Site Manager John Akers said. “Eisenhower was the first Texas-born president, by the way. We have a variety of options for people to discover Dwight Eisenhower and his connection to Denison. In addition to the history, the grounds look great. The Grayson County Master Gardeners maintain our flower beds. We offer a peaceful stop from anyone’s travels.”
The final trekker event will be held from 9:15-11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the site. The cost is $10 per child. Supplies and refreshments are provided.
“We offer daily guided tours of the Birthplace house from Tuesday through Sunday,” Akers said. “There is an admission charge for these tours. The visitors center has an introductory exhibit about Dwight Eisenhower and his connection to the Birthplace house. There is also a new seven-minute video. That video can also be viewed from the Eisenhower Birthplace’s website. Access to both the exhibit and the video is free.”
The visitors center also includes a museum store with merchandise related to the 1890s, World War II, and Eisenhower’s presidency.
“We also have a changing exhibit space in the visitors center,” Akers said. “Currently the exhibit is ‘Ike in WWI’ and covers what Dwight Eisenhower did in World War I.”
The site also does tours for school groups.
“Thanks to Denison Performing Arts every third grader in Denison gets to tour the Eisenhower Birthplace,” Akers said. “These tours will take place in September. We will also welcome every seventh grader from Scott Middle School to the Eisenhower Birthplace on October 13 as part of Denison History Day. Scott students get to visit several historical places in Denison to learn about Dwight Eisenhower and T. V. Munson, the man who saved the French wine industry. Both men are considered heroes of Denison.”
During the Eisenhower birthday celebration on Oct. 14 the Denison Parks Department has sponsored the “I Like Ike” 5k Race which starts and finishes at the Eisenhower Birthplace. That day there will also be special performances of 1940s music in the afternoon along with a birthday cake for Dwight Eisenhower.
“Eisenhower’s youngest granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower, will be in town that day to dedicate the bricks at the Denison Veterans Monument at Loy Lake Park and we expect to see her here too,” Akers said.
Other Eisenhower events include the Red River Valley Tourism Association’s annual “Stroll & Roll Museum Day” which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 9.
“The Eisenhower Birthplace is one of many Texas and Oklahoma museums between Wichita Falls and Paris that will be waiving admission fees for the day,” Akers said. “Visit the Eisenhower Birthplace museum store booth between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Oct. 7 along with new merchandise at the annual Denison Fall Fest on historic Main Street.”
Akers also said that the Denison Boy Scout troops have been invited to camp at the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site from Nov. 3-5.
“Eisenhower Birthplace, Eisenhower State Park, and Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge staff will work with troops on the astronomy and American heritage merit badges and participate in activities centered on the state historic site,” he said.
Akers said that children will learn information about the three visits that Eisenhower made to the birthplace as an adult.
Eisenhower Birthplace only recently became a state historic site.
“The Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site was listed to the National Register of Historic Places, our nation’s official list of places of historical or cultural importance, on October 11, 2016,” Akers said. “The state recognized its importance much earlier than that when the state designated the Eisenhower Birthplace a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1968. The site received one of those round medallions to display. After spending decades outside in the north Texas weather we are working on getting it refurbished.”
The site opened as a museum in 1946. The Eisenhower Birthplace Foundation was formed in 1953 and accepted title of the house from the town of Denison that same year. The foundation gave the house to the state of Texas in 1958.
For more information on the Eisenhower Birthplace, visit www.visiteisenhowerbirthplace.com.