George W Bush Presidential Library

Entrance to the GWB Presidential Library

After visiting the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, we continued on our presidential kick and visited the George W Bush Presidential Library.  We have a family membership to the Carter Presidential Library (because it’s the closest one to our house), so our visit was free due to their reciprocity agreement.  We were quickly outfitted with iPods for the audio tour and made our way into the museum.

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Flag at the GWB Presidential Library

“It is the American story… An unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born.  And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.”

-President George W Bush, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2001

Steel from the World Trade Center

The September 11th exhibit was particularly moving and includes steel from the World Trade Center. While our kids were not alive when 9/11 happened, they are all familiar with the events of that day and the implications they had for our country in the days and years to follow.  The names of those lost that day are etched into the wall surrounding the steel (reminiscent of the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall), and as the kids stood there, tracing the letters with their fingers, they seemed to really grasp the enormity of the situation.

Steel from the World Trade Center that is on exhibit at the GWB Presidential Library

It was totally surreal to see the pieces of steel that once made up one of the greatest buildings in the country.  I love exhibits like this because it opens up the doors for those tough conversations about 9/11. Our kids are very well aware of what happened on 9/11 and the events that followed (as most military kids are)  but it still allowed us to revisit the conversation and answer new questions.

The GWB Presidential Library is even fun for kids

The kids thought it was so cool to have iPods for the audio tour and spent a lot of time taking pictures of each other.  The Library sends you an email link with all of the pictures that you took after the tour.

Being presidential in the Oval Office

The highlight for the kids was definitely the full-sized replica of the Oval Office and they each wanted their picture posing as the President.  They also asked if there were any secret compartments in the Resolute Desk (no, there are not!)

Interactive exhibits at the GWB Presidential Library

I really appreciated all of the interactive displays and games throughout the museum because it made it much more enjoyable with the kids since they were able to interact with the information and not just read a sign.  And that meant that those of us that wanted to read all of the signs (the adults!) were able to do so uninterrupted!

Napping at the museum

All of the multimedia and interactive displays couldn’t keep Ellie awake though!

Hurricane Katrina Decision Points

The Decision Points Theater was another highlight- the group of 24 in the theater votes on a disaster or crisis scenario to deal with and then goes “inside” the President’s decision making process.  After listening to experts weigh in on how to respond, each participant gets to vote on how to handle the situation.

The Decision Points exhibit at the GWB Presidential Library

We were faced with Hurricane Katrina, listened to presidential advisors and experts, and ultimately, our group of 24 came to the same decisions as President Bush.  It really showed the kids how hard it would be to be the President because even with all sorts of advisors and experts giving you their opinion, it’s ultimately up to one person.

Quote at the GWB Presidential Library

-President George W Bush-

We really enjoyed the George W Bush Presidential Library and would definitely come back again next time we’re in the Dallas area.  While the main exhibits are constant, there are special exhibits and events (including a Bush Family Christmas one that sounds amazing) that change throughout the year.

Things to Remember When Visiting the George W Bush Presidential Library

  • Allow 1.5-2 hours to tour the museum fully.  While no food and drink are allowed inside the museum, there is a full-service restaurant and a cafe on-site.
  • If you enjoy Presidential Libraries and are traveling around the US, consider becoming a member at one since it gets you complimentary admission to the 12 other Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives.
  • Check out CityPASS to save 40% on the 4 best attractions in Dallas, including the GWB Presidential Library and the Sixth Floor Museum.

Have you ever visited a Presidential Library??  If so, which one??


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