Garfield Offsite Programs


Please call 440-255-8722 x1238 to book these programs for your library or group. All programs are free of charge. Some programs may be limited in availability.

James A. Garfield and Family

JAG and Civil Rights
This program traces James Garfield’s various attitudes toward African-Americans, his interactions with African-Americans while in the Union army and in Congress; his eloquent and determined support of the civil, political, and voting rights of blacks during Reconstruction and in the years that followed.

The 1st Front Porch Campaign
In 1880, presidential candidate James A. Garfield did something revolutionary: made himself available to the public, greeting them right from the front porch of his Mentor home! Observe the contrasts between Garfield’s presidential campaign and that of our current president.

Garfield: Education Congressman, Education President
This program examines Garfield’s own education, his daily involvement in the instruction of his children, and his lifelong commitment to learning.

The Death of President James A. Garfield
President James A. Garfield served just four months in office before being shot by Charles Guiteau on July 2, 1881. The president lingered for over two months, finally dying on September 19, 1881. This program details the circumstances of the shooting, the president’s medical care, and his death and funeral.

Funeral of the Century
Though not as noted in history as the Lincoln funeral, President Garfield’s lavish funeral on September 26, 1881 was at the time called “the funeral of the century.” Recount the Garfield funeral in detail and see images of a number of original artifacts from the solemn ceremony.

The Garfield Family Tree
Did you know there are still hundreds of Garfield descendants today, including many still in the Cleveland area! This presentation will focus on exploring the vast Garfield family tree, both past and present.

James A. Garfield: Passionate Reader
James A. Garfield was a devoted reader of books on all different subjects. Learn more about what he liked to read and the many books displayed in the Memorial Library and elsewhere in the Garfield home!

Mr. Garfield’s Neighborhood in Mentor, Ohio
You know that President and Mrs. Garfield’s home is on Mentor Avenue here in Mentor, but what other buildings and homes surrounded their property during their years here? This program, based on our popular neighborhood walking tour, will tell you!

“My Dear Mrs. Garfield”: Sympathy Letters to Lucretia Garfield after the President’s Death
Learn more about and hear excerpts from some of the thousands of sympathy letters Lucretia Garfield received after her husband’s assassination.

Mollie Garfield in the White House
March is Women’s History Month! Commemorate it with this talk about Mollie Garfield, only daughter of President and Mrs. Garfield. The program is based in part on the diary 14-year-old Mollie kept in 1881 while living in the White House!

Victorian America

Pine Trees, Poinsettias, and Plum Pudding: The Birth of Holiday Traditions
Celebrate the holidays by learning how some of our most cherished holiday traditions came to be. Also discussed will be how the Garfields celebrated the holidays in their Mentor home!

“What Did Garfield Eat?”: Foods of the Victorian Era
Americans of the Garfields’ time ate very differently than we do today. Learn
more about some of the foods and cooking methods used during the Victorian era.

“Which Fork Do I Use?”: Dining Etiquette in the Gilded Age
If you’ve seen shows like “Downton Abbey” you know that dining etiquette was very different a century or so ago than today! Learn more about the many rules that governed how food was served and consumed in Gilded Age America.

Victorian Christmas Music
Christmas songs and carols are one of everyone’s favorite holiday traditions, and that was the case in Victorian America as well. Learn about the origins of some of the most famous and beloved Christmas and holiday tunes.

Victorian Weddings
Many modern brides don’t realize that the wedding traditions today are steeped in history, some dating back to ancient Roman times. Become enlightened about the customs and fashions of weddings during America’s Victorian period.

Photography in the Victorian Era
The art of photography developed and improved rapidly during the Victorian era. This presentation will explore the history of photography in the United States and how it evolved during and after the Civil War!

Civil War
  • The Battle of Antietam
  • The Battle of Fredericksburg
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • The Life of Abraham Lincoln
  • The Battle of Gettysburg
  • An Armchair Tour of Civil War Sites in the National Park Service
  • Grant and Lee
  • Art Inspired by the Civil War
  • The Battle of Spotsylvania
  • The Siege of Atlanta
  • The Laws of War and the Special Challenges of Civil War
  • Civil War Photography Part 1 & 2
  • Important Books and Authors of the Civil War
  • Postwar Careers of Important Civil War Military Leaders
  • The “Lost Cause” and Civil War Memory
  • Notorious Prisons of the Civil War
  • The Early Republican Party, the Civil War, and America’s Westward Expansion
  • The Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Women of the Civil War: Clara Barton and Dr. Mary Walker
  • Women of the Civil War: Soldiers and Spies
  • The Postwar Years of Grant, Lee, and Other Civil War Soldiers
  • James A. Garfield in the Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Deconstructing the Gettysburg Address
  • Lee’s Old War Horse: General James Longstreet
  • The Election of 1864
  • Fort Sumter: April 12, 1861
  • The National Park Service and Battlefield Preservation
  • History of the Grand Army of the Republic

Art and Architecture

An Armchair Tour of National Parks Commemorating American Arts and Culture (Part 1 and Part 2)
Everyone knows national parks for history and natural beauty, but did you know that national parks also commemorate great writers, artists, architects, and more? Learn about sites that interpret Edgar Allan Poe, Eugene O’Neill, Carl Sandburg, and more!

The Picturesque Rural Victorian Home
Following the picturesque movement and the Gothic revival in Europe, American architects shunned the simplicity of prior architectural styles, leading to the variety seen in the Carpenter Gothic style up to the “gingerbread” Victorian homes across the United States. Advances in woodworking technology and accessibility of these plans meant that even county builders and carpenters could build ornate homes. We can still see the remnants of this time in ornamental front porches and detailed woodwork in the gables of homes dating to the 1860s-1900s. Learn about the origins of Victorian architecture in the U.S. and growth in areas like Mentor, Ohio!

The Art of Lawnfield
President James A. Garfield once described his wife, Lucretia, as having “faultless taste”. The home she lovingly made for her family over a century ago, today stands fully furnished and restored as Mentor’s own James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Learn more about Mrs. Garfield’s taste and style as well as the decorative trends of the Victorian era as we explore the beautiful and impressive art of the Garfield’s beloved “Lawnfield”.


Who’s NOT Buried in Grant’s Tomb?: Presidential Tombs, Monuments, and Memorials
Tombs, monuments, memorials…all meant to honor heroes, but what’s the difference between them? Enjoy a presentation about the various monument and memorials built to honor and remember American presidents.

Inaugural Ball Gowns & Fashions of America’s First Ladies
Trace inaugural balls throughout American history, highlighting the fashions worn through the centuries. We’ll also take a look at President Garfield’s inaugural celebration, held at the “new” Arts and Industries Building at the Smithsonian Institution.

2017: The John F. Kennedy Centennial
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born a century ago on May 29, 1917. Like James A. Garfield, Kennedy won the presidency as a young man. Also like Garfield, Kennedy was tragically assassinated in his prime. This presentation will take a look back at Kennedy’s life, his career and presidency, and the potential his administration held for future accomplishments before his untimely and violent death. Comparisons will be made between James A. Garfield and John F. Kennedy.


Garfield Rocks!
Berea Sandstone is a common rock seen in the architecture of many 19th and 20th century structures in Lake and Cuyahoga Counties here in northeast Ohio. These rocks were obtained from the various local quarries that existed around the area. Learn more about how the Berea Sandstone was quarried and its use in many of the structures you may recognize at James A. Garfield National Historic Site, the Garfield Memorial Monument at Lake View Cemetery, as well as other structures within in Cleveland and the surrounding areas.

America's Best Idea--History of the National Park Service
This program will provide information about the agency’s founding in 1916 and the history of the conservation movement and ethic in the United States.

Holiday Music in Wartime
This time of year is always particularly hard and important during wartime. Learn about and hear some of the most poignant holiday songs from the Civil War
era, World War II, and more!

From Dawn to Dusk: The Life of 19th Century Domestic Servants
Large Victorian homes required domestic workers and servants to keep them running. Learn more about the lives, jobs, and difficulties of these servants, including some of those that worked in Mentor for James and Lucretia Garfield!

History of the Western Reserve
When James Garfield’s family arrived in Ohio, it was an area of wilderness and desolation, but it held promise for hard working pioneers. Learn about this history of this area we call the Western Reserve, and the role it played in the development of northeast Ohio.

Last updated: December 10, 2016

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8095 Mentor Avenue
Mentor, OH 44060


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