The Hayes Presidential Center, Inc. operates and manages the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. A non-profit entity, it receives the majority of its funding through the Rutherford B. Hayes–Lucy Webb Hayes Foundation. The State of Ohio also provides an annual appropriation administered through the Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society). NOTE : HPLM receives no federal funds and is not part of the federal system of presidential sites.
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is America’s first presidential library and the forerunner for the federal presidential library system. HPLM is located at President Hayes’ 25-acre wooded estate, called Spiegel Grove.
Shortly after President Rutherford B. Hayes died in 1893, his second son, Col. Webb C. Hayes, began plans to open a museum and library that would be a memorial to his father and make his father’s presidential papers and books available to the public for research and learning.
Webb deeded Spiegel Grove to the state of Ohio and his father’s personal papers and possessions to the Ohio Historical Society contingent on the construction of a “fireproof building” that would house the museum and library on the grounds of the estate.
The building opened on Memorial Day (May 30) 1916, and was called the Hayes Memorial.
Almost immediately after it opened, the building was too small to house President Hayes’ collections. In 1922, Webb personally funded an addition that doubled the building’s size. He also started the foundation to fund the facility’s operations.
In 1965, the last generation of the Hayes family, who lived in the Hayes Home, turned the structure over to the state of Ohio. It was later opened to the public for tours.
In 1968, the museum/library building was expanded again. Two wings, built onto the east and west ends of the structure, added 35,874 square feet of space. The project supported expansion of the facility’s educational outreach through increased exhibit and library space and the construction of an auditorium. In 1981, the facility's name was changed to the Hayes Presidential Center.
In 2015, the facility’s name changed again to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums to more accurately reflect what the site offers the public.
HPLM comprises the presidential library; the museum, which was renovated in 2016 with the installation of all-new exhibit galleries; the 31-room Victorian home of Rutherford and Lucy Hayes, which was restored in 2012 to look as it did when Rutherford and Lucy lived there; the tomb of the president and first lady; and a mile of paved walking trails. Each entrance to Spiegel Grove is marked with original White House gates, which were used at the White House during Hayes’ presidency and later brought to Spiegel Grove.