Have you ever visited a Presidential library? Up until recently, I thought a Presidential library was a collection of documents, or books, or records from a President's term stored in a fancy building. After learning the American President's song in Classical Conversations with my kids, my mom became interested in learning more about the lives of the leaders of our nation. While she was watching the Today Show, she heard about a new "Presidential Library Passport" to encourage visitors.
Since she was heading up to Boston to visit my sister, they looked up nearby libraries and went to see what it was all about. They went to the JFK Library in Boston and she was hooked.
More than just documents, books, and records, a Presidential library is also a museum chronicling the President's challenges and achievements while in office. When my mom returned from her trip, we endeavored to add these libraries on to our family trips if possible to help her fill out her passport. Thankfully there is one right in our back yard:
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the SMU campus in Dallas, TX. During Cycle 3, which focuses on American history, we went on a field trip to visit the museum with our Classical Conversations community. As we entered, we were warmly welcomed and given "43" stickers as well as mp3 devices to enhance our tour.
At the very beginning, there was a short video to introduce guests to George W. Bush's term. Almost immediately we were immersed in 9-11 video footage and relics. I had forgotten that the attack on the twin towers happened only nine months after President Bush had assumed office. We could have stayed for hours learning from the table with the interactive videos. Reports from all over the world related war coverage that filled the screen.
Included in every Presidential Library is a replica of the oval office while they were serving. Although some aspects of the office are similar for every president, they have the ability to customize the decor. The kids enjoyed sitting at the President's desk and answering important calls.
I had no idea how rich the information and education would be in this memorial of President Bush's time in office. Unfortunately, I didn't allow for enough time for us to fully investigate all that was offered. We will have to go back and add another layer onto our learning about the term of our 43rd President.
There are 13 Presidential Libraries across the nation:
- The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa
- The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York
- The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri
- The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas
- The JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts
- The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas
- The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in College Park, Maryland and Yorba Linda, California
- The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia
- The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Semi Valley, California
- The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas
- The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas
- The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas
Have you visited any of these? Which are your favorites?