Presidential Libraries Look at Leaders – and Ourselves

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PresidentialLibraries2The President is expecting me, at least in his library. Doesn’t matter if he’s dead or alive; Presidential Libraries every day open doors to history and to personalities. They make a grand bucket list for family travel plans. I’ve explored five of the 13 and intend to keep going.

This is not partisan political vacationing, and it’s not just stacks of archived papers.

Presidential libraries are brimming with audio and video, interactive hands-on experiences, music, gardens and memories.

And they’re all over the country: three in Texas, two in California, one in Michigan.

East coast presidential library travel calls for visits to Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York.

Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa are states for engaging with Midwestern presidents.

Nixon has two libraries: one in Maryland and one in California. The others seem contented with one.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the notion to preserve the volumes of presidential records in ways for scholars and the public to access them. His is in Hyde Park, NY.

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George H. W. Bush parachuted into this courtyard of his Presidential Library in College Station, Texas to celebrate his 75th birthday.

I thought about myself a lot in College Station, Texas at the George H. W. Bush Library.

His storytellers created grand exhibits helping visitors muse about his early experiences and their influence on the rest of his life. Set me thinking more deeply about my own youth and the trajectory it launched for me.

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Pretending to be with a president is fun for Blended Family Traveling Mom Christine Tibbetts and photographer husband GW at the senior Bush library.

These designers also created playing spaces. I tried three times to land a plane on an aircraft carrier with the simulation game. Failed. This president did so perfectly when he was a young Navy pilot in WWII.

Children can pull bones from doghouses all over this Bush Library; remember Barbara’s dog Millie? These bones have kid-size facts on them.

I hung out while at the jukebox playing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B.” Iconic this music, and also the photographs of people celebrating the end of WWII.

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Might not receive an invitation to a White house dinner, but can imagine it in a presidential library.

My musing? What songs and scenes will carry equal weight post Iraq and Afghanistan?

Top photo: Presidential libraries give the sense of actually being with a president and first lady.


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