The Hermitage is incredibly well perserved, probably more original details here than any other presidential home from the period. All the guides were informative and enthusiastic. Everyone in the family (grandparents down to elementary aged kids) enjoyed the visit. Given the rather steep admissions price and historical significance, I wish they could improve on the following: introductory video was garbled, it seemed to have been edited down from a much longer PBS series and some details were a bit confusing as a result. Several references are made to the fact that Jackson is the ONLY president to have paid off the national debt, but there is almost nothing to explain this in more nuanced terms: that he took advantage of an economic bubble, that the paid off debt was very brief, and that it resulted in less than desireable economic circumstances. Given our current situation, Jackson's concern for debt and the complications associated with his efforts to address it would have been very educational and illuminating. Instead, it fell flat as what felt like a soundbite. Unflattering as it may be, race relations/slavery/and treatment of native american population are an important part of Jackson's legacy. How he approached these issues, why he believed that the decisions he made were wise and appropriate at the time, etc., deserve some discussion and explanation. There is no effort to sweep these issues under the carpet by the museum, but it seems to be a lost opportunity NOT to address or explain a bit more to visitors. Very little signage or audio tour coverage addressed these issues. Instead, there is a preponderance of signage and audio tour about Jackson's deep love for his wife and his relationship with her. If the goal of the museum is truly educational, more of an effort should be made to connect the wealth of material at this site with issues that are relevant to visitors even today.
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