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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The exhibit has newspaper articles, videos, and commentary in a circular room that recounts the minutes and hours as the attack unfolds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Crisis 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.
A full-size replica of the White House’s Oval Office is open and available to interact in.
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.
This interactive library was informative, interesting, and did a great job honoring the presidential legacy of our forty-third president.
- Purchase tickets online and look for special events on their official website, The George W. Bush Presidental Library, and Museum.
- Discounted rates are available on the Dallas CityPASS.
- Google maps sent us to the shipping docs, but the parking is in a completely different area. Here is a Google Maps link to the Parking for George W. Bush Presidental Library and Museum
- There is no food or drink allowed in the library, and security is pretty tight, so leave it in your car.