Fully opened in 2003, the First Ladies National Historic Site is one of a kind throughout the country as it focuses on the lives of the nation's First Ladies. On occasion women of firsts are represented as well such as Margaret Mead or Wilma Mankiller. The idea for the museum and research library began in 1994 when Mary Regula, the wife of long time Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula, thought the First Ladies of the nation needed a place to represent them as well. The First Ladies National Historic Site consists of two buildings, the Education and Research Center and the Saxton-McKinley Family Home. The two buildings each went through a multitude of renovations.
The Education and Research Center was originally City National Bank built in 1895. City National Bank was eventually absorbed by another bank and then later went through a series of other various businesses such as lock smiths and barber shops. The building was acquired by the committee trying to open up the museum in 1997 as a gift from Marshall Belden Jr. who was from a prominent Canton family. The building was added to Save America's Treasures list in 2000 and officially became a historic site a month later. Construction on the building began a year later in 2001. Two years later in 2003, renovations were complete and the Education and Research Center was dedicated by First Lady Laura Bush. Since then, the building has become the location of the main gallery as well as offices and the archives that store the artifacts and documents owned by the First Ladies National Historic Site.