Sometimes it’s good to take a break from reading about politics! I recently visited the George W. Bush Presidential library on the SMU campus in Dallas, Texas. The campus was beautiful and I found the library interesting although not as extensive as Reagan’s library in Simi Valley.
A large exhibit dedicated to 9/11 features a piece of scrap metal from one of the twin towers and a video timeline on the wall walks you through the events of the day and the aftermath in the days that followed. Names of the victims of the attack are engraved in the wall behind and visitors can enter their own 9/11 memories in to a virtual guestbook when exiting the exhibit.
A replica of the Oval Office, an exhibit dedicated to literacy (Mrs. Bush was a librarian), Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis near the end of Bush’s presidency are also featured exhibits in the library.
Probably the most interesting and interactive exhibit though is the Decision Points theater. In the theater, you are given a crisis that the president had to deal with – I chose Hurricane Katrina. You only have a few minutes to hear the problem, listen to opposing viewpoints and advice then make your decision about what to do. After you’ve made your decision, the program will tally everyone’s answers and then the former president will share what decision he made and say why. What I learned: being President is a whole lot harder than you think!
No matter your politics, it’s always an educational and informative experience to visit any presidential library. If you ever find yourself in Dallas with a few hours to kill, I certainly recommend taking a tour of the Bush library.