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We finally made it to the Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson! You remember him, right? You may have met him on the $20 bill! Every year, on the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, January 8th, the Hermitage kindly offers a day of free admission to the public. Unfortunately, it’s often icy, snowy, or super cold. This year we only had to deal with some clouds and slight drizzle. (I’m actually a fan of days like that--less crowds!)When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by President Jackson himself, and his lovely wife Rachel. They were more than accommodating. President Jackson even let my son, Will, try on his hat! Since we were there to celebrate victory at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, we were also greeted by soldiers showing off their guns. Then we were ushered through the Battle of New Orleans displays. Cue the music! (Actually, there wasn’t any music, but I thought they should be playing the Battle of New Orleans.) Andrew and Rachel were decked out in their finest for the celebration.
The biggest hit of the day happened to be an interactive Battle of New Orleans display table. The children were guided through the the Battle of New Orleans through a touch screen experience. They could read along as they were told interesting facts about the battle and asked thought-provoking questions. They learned about Jackson’s strategy and winning the battle against all odds.Then we toured the rest of President Jackson’s museum. We walked through a timeline of his career and journey to the White House. He is the only president who's lifetime spanned an entire era of history--the Jacksonian Era. At the end, we paused to write something new we had learned about President Jackson during our stroll through the museum. My five year old daughter did a lovely portrait!
Next, we were off to see the mansion built for Jackson. It was beautiful. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but we did snap of a picture of the outside when there was a break in the rain. While we were waiting in line, we even got to meet an old friend of Andrew Jackson’s, Judge John Overton. He told us about a time that he and Jackson got into an argument because he was a man of reason, while Andrew Jackson was a man of action. He never stopped to reason when action would do.
Our last stop was the garden, one of Jackson’s favorite spots, even though his wife was the one who bore the brunt of the gardening work. Even in the winter, there were enough flowers peeping out to make it a beautiful stop. I would love to have a garden like that!
Finally, we paid our respects at the grave of President Jackson and his wife Rachel. Jackson had the forethought to set aside a small cemetary for some of his future descendants as well.
Jackson’s closest servant and slave was also buried there. (One of the controversial things about Jackson was his stance on slavery.) Although your experience may not be exactly the same if you visit a different day, The Hermitage is always a beautiful place to visit and get swept back in time.
You can imagine what it would have been like to be alive at such a pivotal point in American history. Stroll through the gardens and take in some fresh air as you dream. Just make sure to come back to the present and make some history of your own. May the Road Rise to Meet You, Tara (a.k.a. Minivan Mom)
What do you remember most about President Jackson? Who was your favorite president?
- Bibliographical information
- Back-stage at the Hermitage
- Young Andrew Jackson
- Jurassic Classics : Presidential Masters
- Presidents Lapbook
Tara is a homeschool mom who lives in Nashville, TN with her family of five. Visit her at MinivanMinistries.com, where she blogs about making Jesus the driving force in your family. Her goal is to help you help your kids fall in love with Jesus. You can also hang out with her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and follow MinivanMin on Periscope. Thanks for reading!