200 S.E. 4th St.
Abilene Kansas 67410United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Learn how a small-town boy from the prairie became a national World War II hero and president.
The love affair with Ike still flourishes in his central-Kansas hometown of Abilene, where townsfolk lined the streets whenever their war hero and president returned and flanked the route one last time when Ike was buried here in 1969. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum stands testament to what Abilene meant to Ike and what Ike meant to Abilene and the world beyond. Self-guided tours of the 22 grassy acres and five buildings, four built of Kansas limestone, should start at the visitors center and its orientation film. It's a short walk to the Boyhood Home, a 19th-century house on its original shady site, where Dwight, his five brothers, parents and grandfather all lived. Galleries at the Eisenhower Museum tell this small-town boy's remarkable story, from his Abilene days to his military heroics to his presidential legacies. Artifacts include a desk given by the Shah of Iran, submachine guns in his Army's arsenal, the D-Day planning table and other items representing a life once unfathomable to the family living in the simple house next door. The Eisenhower Library is a working research library, with no general admittance to research areas but with spaces for impressive temporary exhibits. A bronze statue of Eisenhower in his familiar World War II jacket stands in the center of the grounds facing the Place of Meditation, a limestone chapel where Ike, wife Mamie and a son are buried. Plan to spend two hours to see it all. Admission charged.