With Washington Often in Gridlock, Museum Offers Insights on 'What Would LBJ Do?'
AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After a $10 million renovation, the LBJ Presidential Library re-opens to the public on December 22 with high-tech exhibits that shed light on one of the most significant presidents in our country's history. New interactive features have been installed throughout the Library, following a yearlong overhaul.
The refurbished museum highlights precisely how President Lyndon Baines Johnson convinced friend and foe alike to support his sweeping legislative agenda. Arguably the most persuasive personality in presidential history, Johnson used favors, charm and even threats to pass the groundbreaking legislation of the Great Society. "As Congress and the President lock horns today over the fiscal cliff, the refurbished LBJ Library helps visitors understand how President Johnson overcame Washington gridlock in his own era," says Mark K. Updegrove, LBJ Library Director. "The LBJ Library presents an unvarnished look at his presidency and teaches new generations how lawmakers once came together to solve the great problems of the day."
For the first time, the Library will feature the famous LBJ telephone conversations, capturing President Johnson's unguarded moments in the White House. Visitors can eavesdrop on more than 60 calls, providing an intimate, behind-the-scenes glimpse of President Johnson as he anguished over the Vietnam War, discussed the assassination of President Kennedy, strategized with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., browbeat lawmakers or simply sought homespun advice from the First Lady.
New features of the LBJ Presidential Library also include:
- A downloadable smartphone app, and handheld devices, that will give visitors the choice of five guided tours
- An interactive Vietnam War exhibit and an interactive look at how legislation passed under LBJ affects visitors today
- New films on President Johnson, civil rights, LBJ's legacy and the First Family
About the Redesign
Renovation of the LBJ Presidential Library began in December 2011. The Library will re-open on December 22, 2012, in honor of Lady Bird Johnson's 100th birthday.
The LBJ Library contracted with Gallagher & Associates of Washington, D.C., to design and oversee construction of the $10 million project. The firm has completed award-winning redesigns of the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter presidential libraries.
In dedicating the LBJ Library in May 1971, Lyndon Johnson said, "It is all here: the story of our time - - with the bark off... This Library will show the facts...not just the joy and triumphs, but the sorrow and failures, too."
In keeping with President and Mrs. Johnson's commitment to transparency and objectivity, the Library consulted with and sought the participation of esteemed historians in presenting the history of Lyndon Johnson. Those consultants include Michael Beschloss, Robert Dallek, Robert Caro and Doris Kearns Goodwin, as well as former Johnson Administration officials.
Renovation of the LBJ Library is funded by private donations through the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. The nonprofit Foundation provides funding to enhance the visiting public's experience and provides grants for scholars and researchers who come to mine the Library's vast collections.
"Through these new exhibits, the political and personal lives of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson come alive for visitors," said Elizabeth Christian, President of the LBJ Foundation. "This redesign is an exciting new chapter in the evolving story of the LBJ Library as a dynamic, forward-thinking institution. Visitors will learn about the decisions President Johnson faced, the impact of his social programs and his passion for critical issues such as education, civil rights, the environment, health care and the arts."
About the LBJ Presidential Library
The LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, is one of 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives. The Library houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, one million feet of film, oral histories and 5,000 hours of recordings from the public career of Lyndon Johnson and his close associates. The Library is open daily from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (except Christmas Day). For admission fees and more information, please visit www.LBJLibrary.org.
SOURCE LBJ Presidential Library and Museum