Two Saturdays ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum during my grandparents’ trip to Dallas. Located on SMU’s campus and open to the public, the Presidential Library and Museum is brand-new (open less than a year) and extremely impressive. Not only do the museum and library hold countless memories of W’s presidency, but the library is also home to roughly 80 terabytes of electronic records (the largest of any presidential library) – over 200 million emails and nearly 4 million photographs. The museum is also extremely to-date, with panoramic digital projections in the entrance hall and decision making process simulations. All in all, it’s quite impressive. (And the Café 43 is not to be missed!)
The museum holds memories of Bush’s 2-term-long presidency: including a large exhibit on “No Child Left Behind”. I enjoyed watching the videos chronicling our old POTUS and FLOTUS’s efforts to reform the education in this country… and maybe flipping through a few of the children’s books myself. I was glad to see not only the classics I read as a little kid, but also books written in the past few years – for both native English-speaking students and Spanish-speaking students alike.
As you can probably guess, the 9/11 exhibit was extremely moving. Videos of 9/11 and the aftermath, the president and the first lady’s journals from that week, a list of the fallen first responders (pictured above), even a piece of one of the towers – it was all very hard to see. I was in 6th grade when 9/11 happened. As is the case with just about anybody else who was alive then, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news… and exactly where I was when I first saw the videos of the crashes. Though I was really too young to understand what had happened, I remember everything about that day.
One thing that did brighten the exhibit in my eyes was the responses from children internationally – children who wrote in to the White House in the aftermath of 9/11, offering their condolences and doing their best to let us know that they’re there for us. Yes, it almost brought me to tears, but it was so sweet to see the the compassion children had for our country that day – written and illustrated in the best ways possible.
Now on to cheerier things: the Oval Office.
It’s just a [exact] replica, but, I must say: that’s a pretty awesome office.
Every president has the freedom to decorate the Oval as he wishes – I was glad to see that W kept things pretty traditional, while also having references to his Texan roots thrown throughout the room (like the picture of the Alamo up on the wall).
In the exhibit, you can go sit in the chair and have your photograph taken. Apparently my grandfather did that after my grandmother and I wandered into the other room – coolest cat in the house goes to Papa.
So I really just took this picture for my sister – one of the most UT Football-obsessed humans ever. Not even that I’ve ever met: I really mean EVER. History of mankind status.
Apparently for every National Championship, Super Bowl, World Series, etc, the president is presented with some memorabilia from the game. What’d the University of Texas give George W. Bush when they won the 2005 National Championship (in 2006… am I the only one who finds that odd?)? A bronze football.
Best part of the whole experience? You can walk out with your VERY OWN GEORGE W. BUSH BOBBLEHEAD!
Okay, well maybe it wasn’t the best part of the museum… but really… you can.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00AM – 5:00PM, and Sunday, noon – 5:00PM. Though the price of admission does depend on whether you go as an individual or with a tour, and on whether you’re an adult, a senior, a kid, etc, the museum does offer a discounted admission if you have your student ID (SMU students and staff, children under age 4, and active Military get free admission).
Have you been to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum yet?
ps: I only have 1 museum left before I complete #4 on my list of 25 before 25 (visit 4 museums in Dallas)!! Where should I go for the last one?