Witness: Seeing Presidential History Up Close


The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center in College Station, Texas.

DK ONLINE: Every president has an immense impact on American history.  That impact consists of many layers: from the philosophy of a president to their world view. It’s in the speeches, the dignitaries they’ve met with, and the legislation they signed or refused to sign.


Perhaps more broadly, it is the spirit a president can bring upon both the office and the country that I find most interesting, as it influences all of the aforementioned and more.

If you are an American history buff like me, then visiting the epicenters of presidential history is a must. There are 14 Presidential Libraries spread out all across the United States, and run by the National Archives.

Technically 13 are brick and mortar facilities. Former President Barack Obama’s library is all digital.


Recently while on vacation in Houston, I popped down to Texas A&M University where the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum sits. I was overwhelmed by the surroundings and went into total nerd mode!

It was my first time in such a facility. I was stunned by the portraits, artifacts, gifts from world leaders, and stories of America’s 41st commander-in-chief. The replica of 41’s Oval Office set up was a bit hard to avoid, as I really wanted to sit in that chair…for just a few minutes!


Some emotions came too, when I saw the stunning tribute to former First Lady Barbara Bush. She had just been buried in a plot behind the museum about a week before my trip.

This is an area I saw after departing the side of the museum and walking past the George Bush public policy school which is also on the campus. From there we saw a beautiful and serene pond before connecting to a pathway that took us through a wooded area and to the gravesite. It will eventually be the final resting place for President Bush, who just turned 94 this week.

It is a sobering thing to think about as we look at our own mortality and realize that life is ultimately short. Too short. We need to make every moment count.

Considering how powerful that experience was, I made it my goal to see every presidential museum at some point in my lifetime; hopefully sooner than later. What’s next? Perhaps the JFK library in Boston! (It’s the closest one to me I think).


The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston, MA. The photo is from http://www.jfklibrary.org.

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