A new museum and education center at the childhood home of the only U.S. President born on the Fourth of July has been officially opened. The President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center was dedicated by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas; members of Vermont’s congressional delegation; and descendents of the president nicknamed “Silent Cal” at a ceremony on Saturday.
“This museum is a fitting tribute to our nation’s 30th President, and a testament to how his early experiences in Plymouth Notch shaped John Calvin Coolidge,” Douglas said, noting that Coolidge’s quiet, reserved demeanor was fodder for humorists of his day.
“But it is his modesty and restraint in governing – virtues that came to be associated with his frugal, pragmatic Vermont upbringing – that are now the object of much discussion,” Douglas said, noting that Coolidge was undergoing a “renaissance” in historic and political circles.
The building will have new space for permanent and temporary exhibits; a new gift shop; a large special function room; a classroom; and offices in the lower level for the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and their small library.
The project cost just over $2 million, with roughly a third of that coming from the foundation and the rest from the state. Coolidge was the last president to serve before the practice of constructing federally-funded presidential libraries began.
The ceremony took place as part of Plymouth Old Home Day, a long-standing tradition in the tiny hamlet, which is preserved much as it was since Coolidge was vacationing here as vice president when he received word of the untimely death of President Warren Harding in August, 1923.
At approximately 2:47 a.m. on August 3, 1923, by the light of a kerosene lamp, notary public Colonel John Coolidge administered the oath of office to his son.
The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, which owns and operates the Coolidge Site, has planned a number of other special events this season including the Plymouth Folk & Blues Concerts on September 4 and 5, and Plymouth Cheese & Harvest Festival on September 19.
Also returning this year are the popular Grace Coolidge Musicales, concerts set for August 8, September 12, and October 3 at the site.
A National Historic Landmark, Plymouth Notch is considered one of the best-preserved presidential sites in the country.
Twelve buildings are on the tour; the site is open through October 17, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily.
For further information, contact the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, (802) 672-3773, or visit www.HistoricVermont.org/sites