National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: May 31, 2012

National Archives at Kansas City

School House to White House: The Education of the Presidents Opens at the National Archives on June 12, 2012

For More Information Contact:
Dee Harris, 816-268-8086

Kansas City, (MO)…On Tuesday, June 12 the National Archives at Kansas City will open a new exhibit, School House to White House: The Education of the Presidents . 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, titled School House to White House. 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, D.C., 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.

School House to White House will be on display at the National Archives at Kansas City from June 12, 2012 through February 23, 2013. To schedule a tour call 816-268-8013 or email mickey.ebert@nara.gov.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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