Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
No trip to Indianapolis is complete without a visit to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site! Benjamin Harrison’s family home is the site of this beautiful museum and presidential site. Your guided tour will start off in the Welcome Center, the red barn directly behind the Harrison Family home. The tour is guided by a museum docent, taking you through all three floors of the Harrison Mansion.
The Harrison Mansion hosts annual exhibits on various topics related to the presidency. The rotating exhibits are held in the historic ballroom. Ranging from historic fashion to the pets of the presidents, the exhibits bring to life unique stories that history has left behind. Filled with unique artifacts, these exhibits are included in the daily admission price.
Past exhibits include topics such as: the life and death of famous first family members in the White House, an exhibit chronically the extended family history of the Harrison’s, the historic fashion statements of the American Noble class, Indiana presidential and vice-presidential candidates, ties to American football and the presidency, and political cartoons.
An annual exhibit is the Harrison Christmas Traditions display. The Harrison’s were the first of the First Families to bring a Christmas tree into the White House. This exhibit focuses on the Victorian-era traditions that the Harrison’s celebrated both in the White House and in the Harrison Mansion.
The entire house is decked out in traditional 19th century decorations, including cotton batting ornaments, glass figures, and Christmas Tree candles. Also available for viewing are authentic Victorian toys, some of them Harrison Family originals, all nestled under the Christmas tree as they would have been many Christmases ago.
Visitors can also take a walk through the President Site grounds. Managed and cared for by Master Gardeners, these lush gardens are full of numerous flower beds and are maintained year round. Be sure to grab a map to guide you on your tour of the garden, a must-see either before or after your guided tour. Named gardens include: The Elizabeth Harrison Rose Garden, Freedom Garden, Victorian Vintage Garden, and the Hoosier Harvest Vegetable Garden, among others.
Once a year, the Presidential Site is host to one of the most unique events in all of Indianapolis: The Wicket World of Croquet! Gather a team and get your best white dress on for this fundraising event! Teams gather to play their best croquet while raising money for the educational programs sponsored by the Presidential Site aimed for children and schools. Traditionally kicked off with a rousing Porch Party, this all day event is a local tradition you won’t want to miss! Teams can even win prizes for the most creative white outfits! So, gather your friends and get your croquet on!
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is also home to the Candlelight Theatre, a unique theatre experience set inside the historic mansion! The company of seasoned actors and resident playwright perform mysteries, comedies, and tales inspired by the thrilling events of history, depending on the season. Check out the Presidential Site website for more information on the current production!