No visit to Canton Ohio would be complete without going to the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum where yesterday meets today. The museum is a unique combination of history and science that provides hours of entertainment for both children and adults.
From the starlit sky in the planetarium to an animatronic dinosaur, this science museum fascinates children of every age. All of your senses will be engaged as you move among the historic streets and buildings recreated here. With so much to see and so little time, plan a visit soon!
About the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum
When it comes to presidential libraries and museums, the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum stands out for its unique approach.
It highlights lots of information and exhibits about the 25th president, but it also includes exhibits about Stark County, where Canton is located, and an interactive science museum and planetarium.
The museum is a combination of history and science that blends beautifully and provides hours of entertainment and education for the entire family.
History of the McKinley Library & Museum
William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was elected by a large majority for both his terms, which says a lot about his popularity. When he was assassinated in 1901, only months into his 2nd term, the entire country was stunned.
Almost immediately, plans began for a suitable memorial, and it was completed in 1907. The result is a stunningly beautiful monument that no other president has received, not even Abraham Lincoln.
Most presidents have a Presidential library but few of them have a memorial like this one. It’s a tribute to the great love the public had for him and the sadness his assassination caused.
America was at a turning point while McKinley was president and set to become a world power. No one could have known that his death would give the United States an even more popular president via Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.
Where to Find the McKinley Presidential Library
The McKinley Museum is more than just a history museum. It has a planetarium, an interactive science museum, and a museum and library dedicated to keeping the memory of the 25th president alive.
Located at 800 McKinley Monument Dr. NW, Canton, OH 44708, you can easily visit the McKinley memorial, museum, and library at the same time.
Things to Do at the McKinley Museum
Discover World is the interactive science center at the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. You begin your visit in the ice age with a greeting from Alice the Allosaurus.
Then, you continue through exhibits that include creating your own mini-tornado. This is a fascinating place for children, but adults will find it enjoyable as well.
The McKinley Gallery is where you learn about William McKinley, the man and the president. His life and career are highlighted, including his service during the Civil War. He was the last of five presidents who were Civil War veterans.
Lots of furniture and personal items belonging to McKinley and his wife, Ida McKinley, are displayed in the gallery. Among them are Ida’s gold and diamond tiara.
Stark County Story
The Stark County Story exhibit chronicles more than 200 years of Stark County history. It includes the industrial history of the county, fashions, Stark County and the Civil War, and more. It’s an interactive exhibit that includes audio presentations, photographs, as well as displays of artifacts.
Street of Shops
On the Street of Shops, you can stroll through a life-size replica town. Some shops to visit include a lawyers’ office, a fire station with a horse-drawn fire engine, and an old-time gas station. Kids get to slide down a real firehouse pole, and the whole street is a fascinating trip back in time.
The Hoover-Price Planetarium will take you into outer space while allowing you to be comfortably seated in the 65-seat venue. You can enjoy a spectacular view of the night sky and the Milky Way.
The projection is manual so that the presenter can interact with the audience. The shows include videos of space exploration and up-to-date views of the night sky in Canton.
Ramsayer Research Library
Anyone who wants to research President William McKinley or Stark County is welcome to visit Ramsayer Research Library Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It includes the Stark County archives, which makes genealogy research possible. If you can’t visit, submit a research request.
The McKinley memorial includes the tomb of the 25th president and his wife. The site was actually chosen by William McKinley himself as an ideal spot for a Civil War Memorial.
After his death, it was purchased with donations from the public to be his memorial. It’s an impressive sight and can be seen from quite a distance.
More Things to Do Near the McKinley Library & Museum
The historic Canton Palace Theatre has been a pillar of the downtown entertainment district since it opened in 1926 as a movie and vaudeville theatre. The interior design recreates a Spanish courtyard on a summer night. The ceiling has a painted starry night, and it dazzles today just as it dazzled then.
Home to 40 rare and unique automobiles, the Canton Classic Car Museum is another interesting stop while you’re in town for the McKinley museum, especially for car lovers. Even if you appreciate vintage toys, movie posters, and Canton history, you won’t be disappointed.
Other Canton Ohio Attractions & Activities
Visit Canton offers a VIP Pass that saves you loads of money on entrance fees, food, shopping, and more. You can request one before your next visit and check out these other two attractions.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
If you’re a football lover, set aside a couple of hours to enjoy the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Celebrate the great moments of football history and the people who have been inducted into the museum.
There’s a lot to see, and it has the absolutely best NFL team store anywhere. The museum offers interactive exhibits, films, and so much more. From its beginnings to the most recent Super Bowl, everything NFL is highlighted here.
First Ladies National Historic Site
The First Ladies National Historic Site has two locations — the education center and the Ida Saxon McKinley Home. The small museum in the former bank has changing exhibits in several different spaces. You’ll learn about the role of the First Ladies and some of their important moments.
You can get tickets here and then take a guided tour of the home where William and Ida McKinley lived for many years. Your last stop on the tour is the gallery with photos and short bios of all the First Ladies.
Where to Eat Near the McKinley Museum
Table Six Kitchen + Bar
If you enjoy a gastropub where food and drinks are each treated with respect, Table Six Kitchen + Bar fits the bill. The owners have a passion for good food and drinks, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.
The food is meant to be shared, so pick a few dishes to indulge in. Sammies and burgers, bowls and platters, apps and salads — it’s all good! Pair it with a craft cocktail, and finish up with a shareable dessert or a mini dessert in a jar.
Taggart’s Ice Cream
If you enjoy nostalgia and creamy delicious ice cream, Taggart’s Ice Cream is the place to go. While ice cream is the king here, the food is all made from scratch and delicious. You’ll feel as if you’ve gone into an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
If the weather permits, you can have the full experience at the outdoor bistro-style tables. If you only try one thing, it has to be the signature Bittner. It’s a secret combination of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and Georgia pecans. The food menu also includes soups, salads, and sandwiches.
If you like historic restaurants, Bender’s Tavern has been satisfying diners for more than 100 years in the downtown historic district of Canton. Seafood is brought in from Foley Fish in Boston Massachusetts and is front and center on the menu.
You could indulge in the French snails and the Foley’s smoked Atlantic salmon appetizers, which won’t disappoint. Mains include lobster tail and fried haddock. On weekends, the slow-roasted prime rib is a favorite, along with a complete steak menu. And, every meal comes with two sides.
On top of that, wine lovers appreciate that Bender’s Tavern has one of the finest collections of wine in Ohio.
Where to Stay Near the McKinley Library & Museum
Hyatt Place Canton
Spacious modern rooms are the hallmark of the Hyatt Place Canton. This pet-friendly property has sofas that turn into extra beds. You can stay connected with free Wi-Fi, and enjoy the extensive selection of TV shows offered on the 42-inch TV.
All of the rooms have a mini-fridge, coffee maker, and two queens or one king plush top bed. Breakfast is exceptionally well presented, and free coffee is available 24/7 in the lobby.
If you have a sweet tooth, the cookies for sale are exceptional. If you need a snack, a small menu of food is available, as well as alcoholic drinks.
Canton/East Sparta KOA Holiday
No matter what type of camping you prefer — tent, RV, or deluxe cabin — you’ll find it at Canton/East Sparta KOA Holiday. In a quiet location, the majority of the RV sites have full hookups. Clean showers and restrooms are a big plus and help make this a popular place to camp in the area.
All of this comes with lots of amenities, such as a swimming pool, game room, horse and pony rides, fishing, two playgrounds, paddleboat rentals, and an 18-hole miniature golf course. This family and senior-friendly campground features plenty of planned activities too.
Canton Vacation Rental
If you’re looking for a Canton vacation rental that will accommodate the entire family, this one is sure to please. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms, you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out.
The rental has a basement with two arcade games and a foosball table. The outdoor space includes a hot tub for relaxing after a hard day of sightseeing. It’s within walking distance of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well, so you’re close enough to enjoy everything Canton has to offer.
In Hartville, Quail’s Covey is a bed and breakfast that provides a very special experience. The tranquil location is a sanctuary from all the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Best of all, you’ll be treated like family.
John and his wife Charlie will greet you at the door. Two rooms and a suite are available, each beautifully decorated and loaded with amenities. Scones, coffee, and tea are delivered to your room first thing each morning, and the breakfast that’s served later never disappoints.
Explore All That the McKinley Library & Canton Ohio Have to Offer
Visiting the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum takes you back in time and introduces you to a very progressive president who you may have known nothing about beforehand.
The McKinley Museum is just the beginning of your adventure, though, because there are so many things to do in Canton Ohio! If you’re visiting during winter, consider doing some Northeast Ohio winter activities as well.