Tuesday, May 7, 2013

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum – SMU Campus – Dallas Texas

After a basically uneventful week spent at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, LA we have moved on west to The Big “D” - Dallas Texas.

We only have one day to spend here and really the only reason we are here is to visit friends but, more on that later. Since we were in the 'hood we decided to check out the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum that just opened to the public on May 1st.

The library is located on 23 acres on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas. Why SMU? I have no idea. President Bush – 43 (his dad was 41) was raised in Midland TX not Dallas and attended Yale not SMU.
Edit:  I am informed that Laura Bush attended SMU and on occasion President Bush teaches or sits in on classes!  My cousin, Carpenter Parham, attends school here as did my cousins Blake and Hunter Merritt.  Carpenter says that he sees the Pres and his secret service retinue walking around the campus grounds. 

The museum is not cheap to go to. Tickets are $16 each (ours were $10 each for retired military) and it is $7 to park. So I was expecting something great. Other Presidential Library/Museums we have gone to are Lincoln's, Truman's, and F.D. Roosevelt's, and homes like Jefferson's and Washington's, Monroe's and Hoover's . I'm missing some others but you get the idea – we had something to judge against.

This was, well – underwhelming. It is nice, it is large, it is well done but yet it is - sparse - that is the only word I can think of that adequately describes it - sparse. I know it is a Presidential Museum and the emphasis should be on the years of his presidency however, there should still be background on his life before being president. There is some on his life as a child in one of the videos but nothing about his school life, life at Yale, years as Governor of Texas etc etc and very little of his life since the presidency. It took us about 1.5 hours to tour museum and that much time was due to watching 3 videos which were well done.
9-11 Memorial

Oval Office remake

Oval Office
Barney and Miss Beazley
Barney passed away Feb. 1, 2013
Miss Beazley still lives with the Bush family
The highlight, low-light, irritating light of the Museum was the parking lot - or rather getting out of it.  When you go in you get a ticket.  To leave you insert your ticket and then your credit or debit card.  We followed instructions - and repeated the steps at least a half dozen times.  By the time the parking lot restraining arm let us out we had tried 4 cards and had at least a half dozen cars lined up behind us.  Hopefully those waiting are from Dallas are are used to huge traffic backups because there are plenty of those around here.  I think you can tell what part of the country we are in as not one person honked while we looked like we were having a Chinese fire drill. (that is probably not politically correct these days is it?)

After the museum we drove around the SMU campus. It is lovely with quiet tree lined streets and broad open green areas.

SMU Mustangs
as seen through the bug stained windshield
A quick trip through downtown Dallas finished our day in Dallas. We drove through Dealy Plaza past the spot where President Kennedy was assassinated but did not stop – it was lunch time and Dallas traffic was crazy - imagine that.

Now we have a wonderful evening to look forward to. More on that in the next blog.

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