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In 1783, after leading the Continental Army to victory against the British, George Washington made an even bolder move: He gave up power to a grateful Congress. Had he not believed in civilian control of the military and the ideals for which he fought, George Washington might have established a dictatorship instead of becoming the legendary first president of the United States.

Every third Monday in February, Americans celebrate the birth of our nation’s great hero. Although the federal holiday officially recognizes George Washington’s birthday, many Americans generally view it as a celebration of past presidents. According to the National Archives, Americans have been celebrating Washington’s birth as far back as the 1800s. Presidents’ Day is a time to remember and honor our country’s founding fathers.

There are many ways to celebrate our presidents in the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) has information on the state’s historical homes and sites, including those of past presidents from Massachusetts, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and Calvin Coolidge, who went to Amherst College and became the Bay State’s 50th governor. A few ideas are listed below.

The recent record-breaking snowfall has affected hours of operation and parking availability for many of these sites. Make sure to call ahead before visiting.

  • Take a tour of the Adams National Historical Park and explore the birthplace of our second and sixth U.S. presidents, John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams. The Adams National Historic Park includes a visitor center, a bookstore, a short film, a trolley ride, and tours of each president’s birthplace.
    • Located in Quincy, the park grounds are open year-round and the historic homes reopen this season on April 19. The Visitor Center is open year-round Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for federal holidays.
    • Admission is $5 for adults. Children 16 and under can explore for free.
  • Visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and learn about the life of our 35th president. Although the main exhibit halls are closed for renovations until mid-March, the special exhibit “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” is currently open to the public.
    • The museum is located on Boston’s waterfront and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $10 for veterans and teenagers 13 to 17. Museum members, active duty servicemembers, and children 12 and under are admitted for free.

Make this Presidents’ Day fun-filled and educational. Join Massachusetts as we remember and honor our past presidents, who helped shape our great nation under their leadership.

How will you be celebrating Presidents’ Day? Share below or tweet us @MassGov.

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