Pay Tribute to Our Past Presidents
The national holiday, Presidents’ Day, was originally a commemoration of George Washington's birthday. America's first president was born on Feb. 22, 1732. After George Washington's death, America began celebrating his birthday as a way to remember his life and how he contributed to establishing America's independence.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon combined Lincoln's birthday with Washington's and ever since we have honored all past presidents on the third Monday of February. On Feb. 20, there will be the grand opening Ford's Theatre Center for Education and Leadership from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. This free full day of programming begins with a National Park Service wreath laying at 8:45 a.m. in honor of Lincoln’s birthday. The open house features an author discussion with John Stauffer, ranger talks, performances of Papa Day, Tales of the Lincoln with storyteller Jon Spelman and One Destiny and special Civil War-era music performed by the Washington Revels. Visitors are welcome to see the center’s new exhibits and participate in workshops. Tickets will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Over at the Newseum, “Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press” will open just in time for Presidents Day. The exhibit explores how media coverage of presidential campaigns has evolved from William McKinley’s 1896 front-porch campaign to Barack Obama’s 2008 Internet campaign, as candidates and reporters tangle over issues, images and control of the story. The exhibit also features interactive activities and an original video production on televised campaign ads, shown on a 100-foot-wide video screen in the Newseum’s big-screen theater.