Walk the grounds of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums by lantern light and “meet” people connected to U.S. presidents throughout history during night-time tours on Friday, Oct. 1.
Costumed living history presenters will portray First Lady Jane Pierce; Hayes Home housekeeper Sarah Jane Grant; Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman; President Rutherford B. Hayes’ cousin, Lucy Elliot Keeler; and Alice Roosevelt, daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt. They will be stationed around Spiegel Grove, the grounds of Hayes Presidential, and share their stories.
This event is part of the third-annual American Presidents Film & Literary Festival.
Tours begin at 9 p.m. and take place every 15 minutes with the last tour leaving at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and available at https://americanpresidentsfilmfestival.org/tickets/. They are also included in the purchase of an all-access pass.
Tickets also will be sold the day of the event and the Hayes museum front desk, pending availability.
Barb Moellman, a longtime guide in the historic Hayes Home, will portray Pierce. Pierce struggled with severe depression. All of her three children died before reaching their teens. Because the inauguration of her husband, Franklin, in 1853 occurred so soon after the tragic death of their 12-year-old son, Benjamin, she did not attend and did not feel well enough to host public events at the White House until two years later.
Taylor Bechstein will portray Grant, who was a much-trusted housekeeper for the Hayes family for many years. She was originally been employed by President Hayes’ uncle, Sardis Birchard.
Grant was particularly close to the Hayes children, writing them letters when they went off to college and baking and sending them ginger snaps on their birthdays. Hear about life at Spiegel Grove and stories about the Hayes family from the perspective of one of their servants.
Bechstein worked as a Hayes Home guide last summer. She is from Findlay and is majoring in history at Bowling Green State University.
Michael Knopf will portray Sherman. Most might be more familiar with Sherman’s Civil War experiences, but after the war, he remained with the army and was still serving during Rutherford Hayes’ term as president. Sherman organized and handled the logistics for President and First Lady Hayes’ great Western trip. The map on which he charted out the Hayes’s journey is on exhibit in the Hayes Museum.
Knopf worked as a Hayes Home guide last summer. He is working on his master’s degree in History at BGSU.
Makennah Rettig will portray Lucy Elliot Keller, who was a frequent contributing author to ladies’ magazines and wrote a book called “If I were a Boy.” She also was an amateur photographer. It is her many photos of the Hayes family and Spiegel Grove that have assisted staff over the years in restoring the Hayes Home.
Rettig is a student at Tiffin University seeking her bachelor’s degree in digital media and design and also worked as a Hayes Home guide last summer. At Tiffin University, she rides for the Equestrian Club as well as working for the Office of Equity, Access and Opportunity on campus. In her free time, Makennah enjoys riding her horse and reading.
Eden Sheidler will portray Alice Roosevelt. “I can do one of two things, I can be president of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both,” President Roosevelt of his daughter. Learn about life in the White House through the eyes of Alice Roosevelt, who loved to break rules, push social boundaries and exasperate her father.
Eden is a home-schooled high school junior. She lives with her parents, her four siblings and six animals. She loves to volunteer at Hayes Presidential and thoroughly enjoys performing on the lantern tour.
American Presidents Film & Literary event sponsors are Crown Battery Corp. and Hal & Diane Hawk; Crescent Manufacturing Co.; and Albrechta & Coble, Ltd.
Award sponsors are Otto Gonzales & Dr. Iracema Arevalo. Film Block Sponsors are 1st Choice Portable Staging and Dr. Greg DeRodes. Friends of the Festival are Holland CPA.
The American Presidents Film & Literary Festival is committed to providing a place for expanded national and international understanding of the history and current events that have and continue to shape and influence the President of the United States. Utilizing the site and community of America’s first presidential library and museum, filmmakers, film professionals and authors will inspire audiences to explore, understand, critique and analyze the people, places, politics and power surrounding the American Presidency.
It is organized by the Liberty and Learning Foundation, Fremont City Schools, Birchard Public Library, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums and Downtown Fremont.
For information, visit americanpresidentsfilmfestival.org and follow on Facebook at @ampresfilmlit.