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The Museum

The permanent exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum looks at the life and career of President George W. Bush. The exhibit brings the story of President and Mrs. Bush’s leadership to life for visitors by highlighting the principles they followed when making key decisions and by promoting an understanding of the Presidency, American history, and public policy.

Artifacts, documents, audiovisual, and interactive components capture the key decisions and events of the Presidency of George W. Bush. Visitors experience many facets of President Bush’s time in the White House, including the campaign and the 2000 election, key legislative moments from the presidency, and compassionate policy initiatives enacted during his Administration.

Decision Theater

The Decision Points Theater places visitors in presidential shoes to consider various options to the issues President George W. Bush faced during his Administration. The time-lapse scenarios include declaring war on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the troop surge in Iraq, and America's financial upheaval.


Highlights

  • A Nation Under Attack - Remember the events of September 11, 2001, and honor the lives lost. Artifacts including steel from the World Trade Center, the bullhorn President Bush used to address the crowd at Ground Zero, and letters he received in the days following the attacks, make up a solemn and moving memorial to a pivotal moment for the presidency for our Nation.
  • Life in the White House - Peek behind the closed doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to see what life is like inside the White House. Learn more about the First Pets, witness the pomp and circumstance that comes with a state dinner, and even take a seat behind the model Resolute Desk in our full-scale replica of the Oval Office.
  • Critical Decisions - Play the role of President and dive into the decision-making process in our interactive Decision Points Theater. Hear from presidential advisers and voice how you would act as President when faced with major crises such as Hurricane Katrina or the troop surge in Iraq.
  • Freedom Hall - Enjoy this one-of-a-kind, massive 20-foot-tall, 360-degree LED screen showing high-definition multimedia clips blending art, history, and entertainment.
  • Native Texas Park - Open year round, this 15-acre urban park reflects President and Mrs. Bush’s love of the native Texas landscape. On a self-guided or group tour, visitors can explore native Texas environments such as Blackland Prairie, Post Oak Savannah, and Cross Timbers Forest. Pets are welcome.

Special Exhibits

The Library and Museum hosts Special Exhibits and various events throughout the year. The annual holiday exhibit, recreating Bush Family Christmases in the White House, has become a North Texas tradition.

Gifts to the President

When a President accepts a gift from a foreign Head of State, it becomes the property of the American people, as the President works on our behalf.  The President may choose to retain some gifts at the end of the term. For gifts from foreign Heads of State, the President must purchase the gift at the appraised value if he chooses to keep it. For domestic gifts or gifts from foreign private citizens under a set dollar amount (currently $335), the President may keep them as they choose. For domestic gifts or gifts from foreign private citizens over the set amount, the President must declare them on their taxes if they choose to keep them. If the President does not formally indicate their intent to keep, purchase or declare the gifts, they are automatically transferred to the National Archives.

Archival Collections

The primary mission of every presidential library is providing information, and at the heart of that mission are the Library’s archival collections. The Bush Library has an immense set of materials. First, what differentiates the Bush Library collections from other presidential libraries is the size of its electronic records archive.

Dedication

President and Mrs. Bush shared the Library's Opening Day with all living Presidents, dignitaries and supporters of the Bush Center. President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama, President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush, President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter participated in the special ceremony.

Construction and Operations

Opened to the public on May 1, 2013, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is America’s 13th presidential library, overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration. Like the other Federally-owned Presidential libraries, the Bush Library serves as a portal to the National Archives and its vast holdings at 45 locations around the nation.

Presidential libraries hold the papers and records created by, for, or about Presidents and their administrations. Without the preservation of and access to these materials, the history of our nation would be incomplete. They document the key decisions, policies, and activities of the institution of the Presidency – the highest level of government – and provide a vital record of how a President and his staff arrive at crucial decisions. Also, through exhibits, educational initiatives, and public programs, the libraries perform a critical outreach mission in their communities and beyond.

Building Facts

On April 25, 2013, Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama joined more than 10,000 other guests on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, to dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. That dedication was the culmination of great effort, and the beginning of a great mission for the 13th presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

 

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