A recent visit to the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas revealed a deeper look at the man, the President and the Bush family. We were taken on a long, very detailed tour of President Bush, from his childhood to his military career and his courtship of Barbara. We walked through his life in Texas starting a family and a business, and then his entrance into politics and his gradual assent to the highest office in the government. We learned a great deal about his time in the UN, and in China, as well as details about his family and how his children fared while he was in office and beyond. A replica of the Oval Office and Situation and Speech rooms made the visit seem like a tour of the White House, and also gave a sense of the pressure and stress of the position of president.
The museum itself was very well organized and designed, with accessibility and interactive displays as a focus. When entering the museum visitors must first pass through security, as the former President and first lady have an apartment on the premises and are known to ‘drop by’ the museum from time to time. A friendly volunteer will then direct you towards the introductory theater, where a short film clip is shown of the former President and First Lady explaining the layout of the museum. From there, you can walk through the artifacts donated by the family and their colleagues and friends, including family photos, quote boards and video clips. For children, the museum has a video game simulation of landing a plane on an air craft carrier, as George Bush did in the war. A replica of the plane dangles above, and throughout the museum there are activities for children and games to keep them entertained while adults read and view the materials provided.
Having visited only one other Presidential Library, the Abraham Lincoln, I found this a real treat. We had hoped to also stop and see the William Clinton Library and Museum, but time did not permit. I hope to visit all of the Presidential libraries at some point, as they offer real insight (albeit biased) into the person in the office, instead of the figurehead. They are an invaluable resource and a great asset to the nation.
The museum is located at: 1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845, and costs $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for children. Open on all non-major holiday days. For more information on the Bush Library, visit their official website.