Last week my wife and I traveled to Dallas, TX for a 2-day gospel concert event. I'll post a few pictures of that tomorrow. We arrived a couple of days early so we could do a little outlet mall shopping and visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library. We have never been to a presidential library, even though the Clinton Library is in Little Rock. It was a wonderful experience. The Bush Library is located on the Campus of Southern Methodist University. Locating presidential libraries on college campuses seems to be a preferred site. The LBJ library is located on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, and the George H.W. Bush library is on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station.
In the central courtyard there is a sculpture of both "W" and his father, George H.W. Bush. It is a very popular photo opportunity. There is also an exact replica of the Oval Office which is the most popular room in the building. It was far to crowded to get a good image. I suspect that the replica of the Oval Office is a common feature among most of the presidential libraries.
There are two main galleries in the museum portion of the library. The larger gallery houses artifacts, interactive displays, and memorabilia from the Bush administration. These items are on permanent display. The smaller gallery houses temporary displays. Currently, the smaller gallery features an exhibit about baseball. President Bush was a managing partner of the Texas Rangers prior to his term of office as President of the United States. This exhibit is not limited to his baseball collection, and features items borrowed from other collections. It is the largest display of baseball artifacts outside of the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown.
Easily the most impressive display in the facility is this piece of steel from the World Trade Center attack on 9-11-2001. On the wall behind the artifact the names of those who lost their lives are inscribed. Video monitors chronicle the events of that day. There is a quiet reverence about this space, and rightly so.
While in office, every president travels abroad on diplomatic business. Often he and his wife are presented with gifts from the heads of state of the countries that they have visited. Here is a pretty impressive collection of some of the gifts presented to President and Mrs. Bush. Click on any image to enlarge.
This crystal and gold Baccarat necklace was a gift to Mrs. Bush from the First Lady of France.
These stirrups of silver, with gold, ruby and emerald accents are from the President of Morocco.
Finally, this silver eagle statue was a gift from the President of Peru.
I'm not sure what we give heads of state when they visit this country, but somehow a smoked brisket just doesn't seem to be adequate. One has to wonder what the federal budget is for diplomatic gift exchange. I'm sure there is a line item for that somewhere.
After our visit, I can recommend that you visit this museum and library if you are in the Dallas area. In fact, I think you would be impressed by visiting any presidential library, even if you didn't care for the politics of the man being honored.