Visit the Eisenhower museum, library and home

Dr. Bill Raymond outside the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum during last year’s Political Science Dept’s field trip.  Photo by Dr. Bill Raymond.

By Mary Elsen, The Circuit.

The history of the United States can be told by examining its leaders and the eras in which they lived.  One way to learn more about their lives is by visiting presidential libraries and museums.

The Political Science Department field trip to the Eisenhower museum, library and home is set for March 25 from approximately 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

“It’s an optional field trip not just open to political science and history majors, but really anybody who’s interested in learning more about our 34th president,” said Dr. Bill Raymond, associate professor of political science.

The presidential libraries are “designed to help Americans better understand how government works and understand the person that’s occupying that office,” Raymond said.

“[They] exist to preserve official government documents,” he said.  “The museum is a celebration of the person who was president.”

Raymond hopes to offer the trip every other year, but, in anticipation of the museum closing for renovation for two to three years, back-to-back spring trips were planned.

An overnight version of the trip was offered last year and several students attended.

“One of the coolest things about the museum is that it’s not only a museum for Eisenhower, [but] also a museum for World War II; It’s much broader than just the story of one person’s life,” said sophomore John Hilmes, political science and economics major.  “It’s looking at how the world shaped his life and how he shaped the world as well.”

Sophomore Garrett Kapelski, political science major, attended last year’s field trip as well.

“I liked the fact that it was a really small group in an intimate setting with professors [and] that you could visit and ask questions,” Kapelski said.  “It was like a mobile classroom.”

“It’s fun to see Dr. Raymond excited, and not just excited about the army definition of leadership, but excited about bald men who were presidents,” Kapelski said.

Sophomore Mary Catherine Willacker, political science major, enjoyed visiting the Harry S. Truman museum with her foreign policy class and since decided to go on last year’s Eisenhower trip.

“The coolest part was that we got to do archival research on any topic of our choice, so the archivist provided us with sets of files on the most popular topics about Eisenhower,” Willacker said.

“I think that these presidential museums are kind of an untapped resource for college students,” Willacker said.  “I think a lot of people don’t realize that they’re out there and they have this great wealth of information, not only about the president but about the whole time period surrounding that president and the lives of everyone involved in that presidents decisions.”

The deadline to register is March 20.  It costs $20 to reserve a spot and up to an extra $20 on the day of the trip.

The trip includes transportation, lunch, dinner and free admission into the attractions.

For more information, contact Dr. Bill Raymond at braymond@benedictine.edu.