George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum

george w bush presidential library and museum

As a top historical attraction in Dallas Texas, the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum is an interactive exploration of the life and presidency of our forty-third president. Located on 15-acres within the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the grounds are landscaped with native Texas trees and flowers.

george w bush library entrance
Front entrance to the George W Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

With the 9/11 terrorist attack on our nation, the subsequent war on terror, the great recession, and a devastating hurricane, George W. Bush was president through an incredibly trying time in our nation’s history. The library does a great job of paying proper respect to all of these moments in unique and interactive ways.

george w bush library gifts
Gifts from foreign Heads of State, the property of the people, are displayed inside cases in the Freedom Hall’s Admissions area. No, that isn’t a roasted chicken sailboat, but a large amber stone.

It was interesting seeing the various gifts given to the Bush family from foreign heads of state. Interesting fact, any gift given to a president is automatically the property of the American people. If a president wanted to keep the gift after their term, they would need to pay the U.S. Treasury the appraised value of the item. Some of the items were amazing works of art, while others were just strange.

Museum Exhibit Gallery

Documents, artifacts, and memorabilia bring a fresh reality of what it was like to serve the country during such a crucial time.

george w bush library map
Map of the Museum at the George W Bush Presidential Library.

The layout of the library makes it easy to move through, and focus on topics we found the most compelling. As we moved through the library, we experienced the general timeline of President Bush’s presidential run and hist time in the white house.

Telling the story of George W Bush’s life, from his early upbringing to life after the White House.
george w bush library memorabilia campaign
Memorabilia from George W Bush’s presidential campaign.
george w bush library faith based
Faith-based and Community Initiative.

As we walked through the library, we were reminded of the president’s programs to revitalize low-income communities and faith-based support services.

Responding to September 11

What shaped President Bush’s presidency the most was the 9/11 terror attack and the subsequent response. The exhibit details the attacks on September 11, 2001, the President’s response, and the aftermath affecting the entire nation.

george w bush library news video
A Nation Under Attack showcases the timeline of events on 9/11.

The exhibit has newspaper articles, videos, and commentary in a circular room that recounts the minutes and hours as the attack unfolds.

george w bush library world trade center
Steel from the World Trade Center buildings stands tall in a solemn room encircled by screens showcasing video clips and audio from 9/11.
george w bush library phone
Speech notes and integrated service telephone used by Bush at US Strategic Command in Nebraska on 9/11/2001.

It was a powerful moment to see the hand-edited speech President Bush gave when addressing the nation after one of the most devastating events in US history.

george w bush library president letters
Letters President Bush received from foreign leaders in support of the US after the events of 9/11.

As we exited the circular hall, we entered into America’s response in the aftermath of such a terrible attack. It was great to be reminded of how the American people rallied and were united in their resolve to heal the nation and prevent future attacks.

Defending Freedom

The September 11th terror attack wholly changed the nation and the Bush presidency. For the rest of the president’s time in office, the nation was on the offensive to root out terror around the world.

george w bush library war on terrorism
Details in fighting the global war on terror during the Bush administration are presented through videos, posters, displays, and artifacts.

Decision Points

One of the coolest interactive components is the decision points theater. It’s a simulator that throws real-life world crisis at you, provides alternative perspectives from your advisors, then requires you to execute a response. The situation evolves based on your actions, and unintended consequences play out in surprisingly dramatic ways.

george w bush library decision points
The interactive Decision Points Theatre allows visitors to put themselves in place of various issues George W Bush faced during his administration.

Key events, such as Hurrican Katrina, Military in Iraq, 9/ll response, and the capture of Saddam Hussein are examples given in the Decision Points Theatre. We took a seat, decided a topic as a group, then watched situational videos that required our response. It was a great way to show not only the complexity in these situations but the unintended consequences of fluid and critical decision making.

george w bush library crisis managementCrisis management handled during the George W Bush administration.

Life in the White House

The exhibit gave a glimpse into what it might be like to live in the White House. The public and private areas were exhibited with artifacts, maps, and photographs, describing the events that took place in the first family’s home.

george w bush library white house living
Displays inside “Living in the White House” section of the George W Bush Presidential Library.
george w bush library oval office desk
Everyone took turns sitting at the president’s desk in the replica Oval office.

A full-size replica of the White House’s Oval Office is open and available to interact in.

george w bush oval office seating
In the “oval office”, opposite of the president’s desk is the seating area we see during many press conferences.

Cafe 43

Cafe 43 is a full-service gourmet restaurant serving local foods Texan style. The casual Courtyard Cafe serves quick bites to suit your needs. It was a HOT Dallas summer, so visitors were not interested in outdoor seating.

george w bush library courtyard cafe
The Courtyard Cafe is located on the premises of the George W Bush Library and Museum and features statues of George W and George H W Bush.

This interactive library was informative, interesting, and did a great job honoring the presidential legacy of our forty-third president.