Library and Museum Outside View - small crop

The Museum

Framed by the themes of freedom, opportunity, compassion, and responsibility, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum serves as a resource for the study of the life and career of George W. Bush, while also promoting a better understanding of the American Presidency, American history, and important issues of public policy. The Library and Museum accomplishes its mission by preserving and providing access to Presidential records and other donated collections, hosting public programs, creating educational initiatives, preserving artifacts, and producing innovative museum exhibits. The 14,000-square-foot gallery highlights themes and subjects, such as education reform, the global war on terror, the financial crisis, and efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Decision Theater

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


  • Sept. 11 Exhibit - Artifacts include a 22-foot, pulverized steel beam from the World Trade Center; the bullhorn the President used to address First Responders at Ground Zero; the notes he scribbled for his impromptu speech at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. when he learned America was under attack; and a port authority officer’s badge, which the President carried every day after 9/11, given to him by a grieving mother.
  • White House Oval Office - Take a look around the full-sized replica of the President's Oval Office, then sit at the Resolute Desk and enjoy the Texas Rose Garden.
  • Decision Points Theater - Place yourself in presidential shoes and consider various options to the issues President George W. Bush faced. The time-lapse scenarios include declaring war on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the troop surge in Iraq, and America's financial upheaval.
  • Freedom Hall - Stare in wonder at the one-of-a-kind, massive 20-foot-tall, 360-degree LED screen showing high-definition multimedia clips blending art, history, and entertainment.
  • Urban Park - Enjoy a walk through the Native Texas Park, a 15-acre park filled with native Texas prairie grasses and wildflowers.

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 Dallas 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.


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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