George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Everyone Belongs
May 15, 2013 (Updated May 16, 2013)
Review by Thomas Wikman
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Interesting, fun, impressive, modern, interactive features, gorgeous building.
Cons:Tight security, pro George W Bush propaganda.
The Bottom Line:
TheGeorge W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was an interesting and fun experience even though George W. Bush was controversial.
A lot of recent Presidents have a Presidential Center dedicated to them and now former President George W Bush is among them. The George W Bush Center in Dallas, Texas, includes the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which was opened to the public on May 1, and the George W. Bush Institute which is a public policy center. My wife and I recently visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. We combined our visit with a visit to the Meadows Museum, which is located nearby.
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Overview of the George W. Bush Presidential Museum
The George W. Bush Presidential Library contains 70 million pages of textual Presidential materials as well as audiovisual material and 80TB of electronic records. The Library is currently being processed but you can still visit to do research if you are older than 14 years old. However, the main tourist attraction at the George W. Bush Center is the George W. Bush Presidential Museum. It is located in the north and east ends of the George W Bush Presidential Center, which is housed in a large building (207,000 square feet) on the campus of the Southern Methodist University in northern Dallas. It is not far from where we live. The building is beautiful and modern and cost 250 million dollars to build.
Admission to the museum is $16.00 for adults, $13.00 for seniors, $13.00 for students, $14.00 for young people (13 to 17), $10.00 for children (5-12), $10.00 for retired military, and admission is free for SMU students, military, and children under five. The hours are 9:00AM to 5:00PM Monday through Saturday, and 12:00PM to 5:00PM on Sunday.
If you visit the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum your admission to the Meadows Museum is free, and you get a $2.00 discount the other way around. We parked in the Meadows garage. Parking in the Meadows garage is $20.00. However, if you visit the Meadows Museum the parking is free (you get a token). There is other parking that is closer to the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum but as far as I know it is not free and it is harder to find parking than if you park in the Meadows parking garage. We thought it was a good idea to visit both museums at once and get free parking at the Meadows parking garage.
This is the address of George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum
2943 SMU Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75205
This is the web site
Experiencing the George W. Bush Presidential Museum
The museum has pretty tight security and my shoes kept setting of alarms on the way in. Maybe it had something to do with me stepping in dog dodo earlier that day. I don’t know, but they eventually let me in. The line for tickets was not long but the line for the security was fairly long. It was like being at the airport.
The staff was pretty friendly and helpful and the museum was not too crowded. You walked around in what was almost a circle consisting of several exhibits/rooms. They had a 10 minute introductory movie inside a movie theater at the first exhibit. They also had several TV screens, posters, interactive features, and artifacts. They also had a model/copy of the oval office. You learned about “No child left behind”, USAID, the fight against AIDS, the help for Africa, 9/11 and the war on terror. There was also a statue of the tumbling burned twin towers.
George W Bush was a controversial president but this museum told his story the way he wants it to be told. That is to be expected. This museum is not pretending to be objective. As I understand the museum pretty much followed his book “Decision Points”.
George Bush’s initiatives probably saved millions of Africans and the museum claimed that his more controversial initiatives were chosen from a set of really bad options of the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind. One exhibit called “Decision Points” illustrated this. It was sort of like a game and you could pick from a set alternatives. You did not have to pick the same thing as George W Bush did but you were educated on the badness of the other choices as well. They say hindsight is always 20/20 (not entirely true) but you were informed about what the experts at the time said rather than what we know now.
George W Bush made some decisions I personally disagree with. I probably would not have voted for him if I could have (not a citizen at the time), but I am not sure. However, I don’t get the impression that he was a bad guy. He was no hater, bigot, maniac, or lover of war, and certainly no Hitler. The museum displayed parts of his inauguration speech in 2000 on a big American flag. “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 to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.”
The George W Bush Museum was very modern, well laid out, it had nice bathrooms, a nice gift shop, and there was an upscale café by the entrance (we did not eat there). I had expected to see some on the far left walking around swearing or at least saying “yeah right” but no one did that. Overall it was a nice and interesting museum (and pretty good propaganda).
I found the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum to be quite impressive, modern, nice and informative, but it was also pro George W Bush propaganda. However, the presentations were light hearted, fun and not partisan, it was not Rush Limbaugh hour. The security was annoyingly tight so you need to plan for that in your time. I recommend a visit to this museum if you are in the neighborhood.
Finally I would like to thank Di (SurgRN911) for adding this center to the epinions data base.
Best Suited For: Families
Best Time to Travel Here: Mar - May
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