Herbert Hoover – Presidential Library and Museum

Betty and Dan standing with a cardboard cutout of Herbert Hoover.

How much time do you spend in a museum? Dan and I spent two hours inside the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum. This was after we spent the morning exploring the National Historic Site.

We wound through the museum in the chronological order of Herbert Hoover’s life. Perhaps it is natural as the amount one reads (at least for me) is inversely proportional to how long one has been in the museum.

Now, it was a fascinating place, and I learned so much. I just started to get tired as we made our way through the rooms related to his presidency and the years after. After all, we had been Herbert Hoovering for five plus hours.

Here, in a nutshell or in other words, Betty’s cliff notes, are the overview points we learned about Herbert Hoover.

  • Herbert Hoover was born in 1874. The values of simplicity, honesty, equality, peace and service to others, instilled in him by his Quaker family would remain with him the rest of his life.
  • When Herbert was six, his father died. Just three years after that, his mother, Hulda, died. Eventually, he was sent to live with his uncle who ran a school. This let to Herbert Hoover attending Stanford University.
  • In college, Herbert Hoover studied geology and met his wife, Lou Henry. She was the only female geology student at the college.
  • After college, Herbert was an extremely successful geologist working overseas. This led to him being financially independent for the rest of his life.
  • Herbert Hoover became a humanitarian and was well known for his efforts to help those suffering from the effects of WWI.
  • Herbert Hoover, still dedicated to public service, became the Secretary of Commerce. He was highly successful in this role.
  • His humanitarian efforts and his success as the Secretary of Commerce led to Herbert Hoover being elected as the President of the United States.
  • Seven months after being sworn into office as President, the stock market crashed.
  • Herbert Hoover served as a one term president. He was not reelected as many placed the blame for the Great Depression on him.

On one wall, near the museum’s entrance, is a mural depicting the chapters in Herbert Hoover’s life. I took pictures of the entire mural and broke it into sections to generally correspond with the points above.

Here are a few more pictures I’d like to share:

Picture of Herbert Hoover at the age of one.
This metal toy train belonged to Herbert Hoover.
Depiction of Herbert Hoover as Secretary of Commerce.
Bronze statue of Isis.

Helping War Victims

The Statue of Isis, Egyptian goddess of life, symbolized Herbert Hoover’s humanitarian efforts. Belgians gave Hoover the bronze statue to thank him for his help in staving off famine in their country in World War I. Hoover, a wealthy mining engineer, had given up his career to organize, without pay, a war relief organization. He persuaded German invaders and British blockaders to allow shipments of food that fed millions of people in Belgium and northern France. After the war Hoover directed relief efforts across Europe. He devoted the rest of his life to public service.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Herbert Hoover’s wife died in 1944. After she died, Herbert Hoover donated their home in Palo Alto, California to Stanford University. The Hoovers also had a second home, an apartment in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Herbert Hoover moved to that apartment and lived there 20 more years.

Herbert Hoover’s Office in the Waldorf-Astoria

For our last stop, we visited the grave site of Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou. It is outdoors, with a simple design, reflecting the values of simplicity and humility Herbert lived his entire life. As a side note, there are no statues of Herbert Hoover on the grounds.

Herbert and Lou Hoover's grave site.
View from flag pole at grave site overlooking the grounds with the birth cottage in the distance.

If you stand at the flagpole and look out over the grounds, in the distance you can see Herbert Hoover’s birthplace cottage, thus symbolizing his journey life from start to finish.

20 comments

  1. Excellent, Betty. Thank you for sharing more about Herbert Hoover than I ever new. It’s said that he isn’t remembered for his humanitarian efforts as much as for being a one term president who got blamed for the Great Depression.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another fantastic post. I wonder why there are no statues of Hoover at the park? Regarding how much time do you spend in a museum – I’ve spent up to eight hours, then gone back a day later and spent almost the same amount of time there. I now take as many pictures of information plaques, etc. and then come home and read them at my leisure. Well, after your posts I have definitely put this park on my bucket list. Oh, before I forget, that last picture is “the best”. Thanks again for taking me along through your blog. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and you’re welcome! I am not exactly sure why there are no statues, but the fact was pointed out to us. So there must be some significance. Perhaps to symbolize his life theme of service to others. We were at the site about six hours. I was at my saturation point (for the day) and, the museum was closing at 3 pm due to abbreviated hours. I do wish I could have “taken in” the last couple rooms better. I will remember your tip to take pictures of information. That is a good way to learn a bit more later. Thank you! Yes, I thought the symbolism of the hillside view (from grave site to birth cottage) was very poignant. We all make that journey, but it is what we do in between that matters. I do think Herbert Hoover did his best to serve others. Enjoy your Sunday, and have a good week ahead!

      Like

  3. Very interesting! Hubs and I are both history buffs, so your post shed much more light on what we already knew about President Hoover. Depending on how big they are, we can spend many hours in museums. Hubs reads every bit of written information and I’m more involved with taking photos. I read as well, but certainly not to the same degree as hubs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan and I both like to read a lot, but sometimes I feel like there’s more to take in. I like to see and learn as much as I can. Thanks for reading and your comment. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very interesting and informative! I can spend hours browsing a museum. Grammi on the other hand cannot and I usually find her waiting outside. So most of the time I hurry along. I loved the analogy between Hoover’s birth cottage and his gravesite. When we started our adventure 3 years ago, presidential libraries were on our list of places to visit. With the pandemic situation it hasn’t worked out. Maybe we can recommit. Thanks for sharing — I loved it. Happy days and safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I am so glad you loved it. That says a lot given your extraordinary travels! I’d like to read more, but I do get to a saturation point – usually because I am tired. But I’ve learned something – even a great deal, and that I enjoy very much. Have a great week of adventures!

      Like

  5. Great post, Betty. I love presidential libraries (my wife probably not so much!). I’ve been to the Gerald R. Ford, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon ones. Now I want to add the Herbert Hoover one too. Love the pics and information here. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been to the Truman one as well, but it’s been a while, and I can’t remember a lot about it. That’s another benefit of writing these posts. Writing may help me remember better, but if not, I can always go back and read my own post. 🙂 I do enjoy the presidential libraries and the national historic sites. I like it when there is a movie and when rangers are there to add to to the experience. I really appreciate your comments. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very interesting post. I learned quite a bit about Hoover while working on the New Deal projects. While some did blame him for the depression, it was in reality more complicated–as it usually is. In fairness, he did try to improve the economy with some government projects that were the precursor of the New Deal, but it was not enough to have the kind of impact needed by the time so many were unemployed, homeless, and desperate. A different perspective is also quite interesting in Elmer Kelton’s “The Day the Cowboys Quit” and “The Time it Never Rained.” It might not be your kind of book, but I found them both fascinating–so much so I wrote him a letter telling him I assigned them as reading in my social work policy class. He said that was the first time anyone had ever told him that about his books–which by the way, were western fiction, but based on historical events. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will have to check out those books. I do enjoy reading historical fiction. The right book can really bring historical events to life and leave a lasting impression on the reader. It’s another great way to learn history. I appreciate your comments. And you are right, events (and people, too) are always more complex than an oversight view. And more understanding requires more effort. I bet the author of those books really appreciated your letter and you taking the time to write it. Just like how us bloggers really appreciate people reading and commenting. Thank you for your insightful comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.