Students receive the presidential treatment when visiting the Hall of Fame
|The Presidents Hall of Fame of Clermont, Fla., is located at 123 N. U.S. Highway 27. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round. Admission is $14.95 for an adult, $13.95 for seniors, $6.95 for children ages 6 to 11, and children under 5 are free. Special group admission rates are available. For more information about the museum, call (352) 394-2836 or log on to presidentshalloffame.com.
Walking through the front door, it’s apparent this isn’t any normal museum. Life-sized wax statutes of Presidents George W. Bush, George Bush, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln greet visitors to the Presidents Hall of Fame in Clermont, Fla.
Complete with displays from all 42 Presidents, their first ladies and world famous authentic miniature replicas of the White House, the museum is rich in Americana history. While museum staff offer tours to the young and old, clearly students hold a special place in the Presidents Hall of Fame.
“We definitely cater to children more than any other age group,” said Carol Howe, the museum’s full-time educational coordinator and a retired fourth-grade teacher with 35 years of service. “I just booked a group of 75 children from a private school to come in.”
Unlike other museums that provide simple tours to student groups, the Presidents Hall of Fame conducts elaborate trivia games and scavenger hunts for school groups. Accompanied by interactive displays, a short video on the White House and a computer program providing a digital tour of the White House, a field trip to this museum is extremely educational.
“We get everything from preschoolers to college students,” said Howe. “Typically, I ask the teachers before they get here what they are focusing on and then I can adapt presentations to their particular history lesson.”
While some may doubt what a preschooler could learn from a museum chocked full of presidential history, Howe says “you’d be surprised how much they do understand.” While scavenger hunts are usually too advanced for the younger students, coloring pages of Presidents and First Ladies as well as a White House-themed story time are more suited for their tastes.
After an educational visit to the Presidents Hall of Fame, students and teachers don’t go home empty handed. All children receive a free American Flag pen and teachers are given follow-up educational materials such as the White House mailing address so students can writer letters to the President. Equally impressive is the museums’ gift shop, which features stacks of presidential history books and other educational supplies, including flash cards and rulers.
“The amount of educational materials in here is phenomenal,” Howe said.
While hosting local student groups is a constant for the museum, the Presidents Hall of Fame is one of Lake County’s oldest and most recognizable attractions. The museum has been featured on national television shows such as “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and The History Channel, and in national publications People, Time and Time for Kids.
“Our displays are always traveling around the nation and world,” Howe said. “Our miniature White House is currently at the Truman Library and it just came from the Nixon Library.”