Things To Do

Photograph of a National Park Service ranger leading a tour in front of White Haven
Tourists visit the main house on a ranger-led tour.

National Park Service

There are many things to do and see at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site:

  • Watch the introductory film -- "Ulysses S. Grant: A Legacy of Freedom" (running time 22 minutes)
  • Take a guided tour of the historic home known as White Haven (approx. 30-45 minutes)
  • Visit the historic Summer Kitchen, Chicken Coop, and Ice House
  • Take a self guided walk around the historic trace
  • Tour museum exhibits located in Ulysses S. Grant's 1872 horse stable
  • Participate in a free Junior Ranger program for children ages 5 and up
  • Shop in our bookstore
  • Check the list below for upcoming events
Photographs and book cover art representing speakers for our 2018-2019 season.
2018-2019 Performers and Speakers

National Park Service

Special Events
The park offers special programs and performances throughout the year. Check here for a calendar of events. Note: most programs require advanced reservations as seating space is limited. Please call 314-842-1867 ext. 230 to make your reservations today!

Upcoming Programs at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Please join us for a collection of wonderful performances and lectures. For reservations call 314-842-1867 ext. 230

Saturday, November 10 (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.)
Armchair Tour: Bike Through History

Park Ranger David Newmann has lead several bike tours along Grant’s Trail to the Sappington House. Enjoy learning about the historic spots visited along the way from the comfort of our park theater.

Saturday, December 1 (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
A Spirited Holiday Past

Decorated for the holidays, numerous historic sites and houses in the St. Louis area will open their doors and welcome visitors to gaze back on earlier times. At White Haven, costumed interpreters will present historic skits in various locations at White Haven. Free. No reservations required.

Saturday, December 8 (1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.)
Author Talk: Jan Jacobi’s Young Lincoln

St. Louis educator and author Jan Jacobi will discuss his novel on the childhood of Abraham Lincoln. The book was written with young adult readers in mind, but all will be interested in hearing the stories that bring Lincoln to life.

Friday, December 14 (2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.)
Saturday, December 15 (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.)
Message at Midnight: A One Act Play

The setting is Christmas Eve of 1864 and as midnight approaches, Grant arrives to meet with the President and Mrs. Lincoln at the White House.

Wednesday, January 9 (2:00 p.m.)
White Haven Readers’ Guild 1st Meeting

Book Topic: Fire, Pestilence, and Death: St. Louis 1849
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is starting a new book club open to all those who are interested. Most of our selections will be on topics relating to 19th century American history, but we will occasionally branch out into other eras as well as natural history and environmental topics. All are encouraged to attend and to enjoy a group discussion lasting about an hour.

The Readers’ Guild will meet quarterly in the Visitor Center classroom. Our first book will be Fire, Pestilence and Death: St. Louis 1849by Christopher Alan Gordon and published by the Missouri Historical Society. Books will be available for purchase at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site bookstore or are available at the St Louis City or St. Louis County libraries.

Saturday, January 19 (10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.)
Civil Rights Legislation During Reconstruction Era

Presentation by Park Ranger Nick Sacco. Popular memories of the Reconstruction era (1865-1877) often focus on the alleged corruption of crooked politicians and a general spirit of harshness towards the defeated Confederate states. Forgotten in these recollections is that the country's political institutions underwent a remarkable period of democratization. By looking at various pieces of civil rights legislation that were passed during this time, Ranger Sacco will demonstrate how the Reconstruction era was in some ways a civil rights movement for legal and political equality.

Saturday, January 26 (10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.)
City Class Iron Clads: The Brown Water Navy that Saved the Union
Presentation by Park Guide Shawn Williams. Williams will describe city class iron clads gun boats, their St. Louis connection, their use in battle, and the USS Cairo which today resides at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Wednesday, January 30 (7:00 p.m.)
Freedom Songs: The Music of Black History

Presented by: Bright Star Children’s Theatre
This musical revue provides an energetic and engaging approach to learning about Black History. From songs which carried the secret messages needed to navigate the Underground Railroad, to the powerful anthems of the Civil Rights Movement, to the Beale Street Blues, music has long been an integral part of American history which is celebrated in this production. The program was created for children in grades 3 and up, but will be enjoyed by all ages.

Saturday, February 9 (10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.)
Sweet Obsessions: Kisses to Peco Flake by Suzanne Corbett

Learn about the history of the commercial candy varieties and the local/regional confectioners who satisfied our sweet cravings from the post-Civil War era to the late 20th century. Suzanne Corbett, of St. Louis, is an award-winning writer, culinary teacher and food historian whose work has appeared in local and national publications.

Saturday, February 23, 2018 (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.)
Author Talk: Kelly Kennington’s In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America

Kelly Kennington is a historian of slavery in the antebellum American South, with a particular focus on how enslaved persons interact with formal and informal systems of law. She received her B.A. in history from Tulane and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. Her first book, In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America (University of Georgia Press, 2017), looks at the cases of enslaved men, women, and children who sued for freedom in St. Louis. Dr. Kennington uses these legal suits for freedom to trace the broader legal culture of St. Louis and to argue for the importance of enslaved people's participation in that legal culture. Dr. Kennington's future research interests include the history of slavery and law in the state of Alabama, with a particular attention to labor conditions and law.

Saturday, March 9 (10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.)
Life on the Homefront: Julia Dent Grant and the Civil War

Presentation by Park Ranger Nick Sacco. Julia Dent Grant played an important role in caring for her family and supporting the Union war effort during this Civil War. Ranger Sacco will discuss Julia's experiences during the Civil War and demonstrate how women's work on the home front significantly contributed to Union victory on the battlefield.

Saturday, March 30 (10:00 am)
Opera Theater of St. Louis Program – Overview of Verdi’s Rigoletto

Presentation by Anne Williams. Anne Williams, park volunteer and Opera Theater of St. Louis docent, will provide an overview of Verdi’s Rigoletto which will be performed this summer. Verdi and Grant were contemporaries. They both determinedly farmed the land, passionately sought to unify a nation, and reluctantly served their country in political office. One walked out in the middle of an opera, the other composed twenty-seven.

Saturday, April 6 (10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.)
Grant at Appomattox
Presentation by Park Guide Ashton Farrell. On April 9, 1865, near the town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Park Guide Ashton Farrell will give a talk about this famous surrender.

Friday, April 26 (2:00 pm)
Saturday, April 27 (10:00 am & 1:00 pm)
150 Years of Henry Shaw

Presented by Barnes M. Bradshaw
150 Years ago this week, (on May 3rd, 1819) Henry Shaw stepped of the steamship Maid of Orleans and onto the St. Louis Riverfront beginning a journey of nearly 70 years as a businessman and philanthropist. On the anniversary of his 50th year here, 1869, the local elite and business community threw him a celebratory ball to commemorate the event, and you are invited to join us! This program is a costumed presentation presented by Barnes M. Bradshaw of Historically Speaking.

Friday, May 10 (7:00 p.m.)
Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary Talk

Railroad enthusiast Ed Smith from the National Museum of Transportation will give a talk about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed on May 10, 1869.

For free reservations, call 314-842-1867 ext. 230.


Things to Do in Missouri

If you are planning a trip to Missouri, visit the Official Missouri Tourism Website for additional things to do around the state.

Last updated: December 1, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

7400 Grant Road
St. Louis, MO 63123


(314) 842-1867

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