Monday, April 16, 2012

Reflections of a Grant's Home Tour Guide: Year one

I have been interested in Galena History since I was very young.  Living in a town where history surrounds you is a dream for many history students, but for me it is a reality.  This past summer I had the opportunity to volunteer as a tour guide at Grant's Home in Galena, which I will once again partake in this summer. 

Last summer went by so fast and filled with a lot of great people who have the same love for Galena and General Grant that I do.  Terry Miller, Director of the Grants Home State Historic Sites (which includes Washburne House and the Market House along with Grants Home) has done a fantastic job of restoring Grant's Home and creating an attraction that allows people to learn the history of one of the nation's greatest generals.  Jamie Loso, the curator of Grants Home State Historic Sites has also done a fantastic job and regularly gives tours as well. 

The tour guides at the home are some of the most knowledgeable people I have known.  Vinetta Stevenson, Ellen Bussan, Randa Stewart, Georgiann Wasmund (which happens to be my great-great aunt), and many others each add their own twist to their interpretation of the lives of the Grant family.  These women have been working at the home for many years and have great knowledge that all visitors are amazed at. The three months I ahve spent at Grant's home last summer have inspired me to continue to volunteer at the Home and continue to give tours to those who have a wide range of knowledge on the subject.  There have been guests who are history professors, and there have been some that know nothing about Grant, but each leaves the house with a new appreciation of General Grant.

If you are from outside of Galena and want to visit, I would strongly urge you to visit Grant's Home if you want a true and accurate account of the life of General Grant.  Each worker strives to be factual on the life, unlike many other 'tour companies' that fabricate lies and tell their patrons how much Julia despised Galena (untrue!), the 'ghost' at Grant's Home (no one died in the house), and many other myths told by museums and tour companies in Galena. Also, Grant's Home does not throw away artifacts (I won't touch on this subject in this post) and 90% of the house contains artifacts of the Grant family, a lot more Grant memorabillia is kept at the Market House. Grant's Home is a excellent destination and I hope you take a tour there this summer. 

Blogger's Note: This was not produced by Grant's Home and had no affiliation with them while writing this post, this is purely my views.  If you do not agree with a sentence or two please contact me at

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