Wednesday, January 22, 2014

City Series:Dallas: George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Some experiences are a little too big for a you know what I mean?  I have been mulling this over for a week now and will do my best to give you a concise and meaningful description of my visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.  

First of all, I loved every minute of my visit. I was invited to tour the museum and have lunch at Cafe 43 by my friend, Carol, who I met back in 2009 in the Patricia Wells' cooking class in Paris.  We have stayed in touch and I have been trying to get to Dallas to see her for ages.
We met here on the plaza, went through security and then started to make our way through the museum.  In the area called Freedom Hall, you can see beautiful gifts given to the Bushes by American citizens and Foreign Heads of State during his presidency.  A giant IMAx-style 360 video plays along the second story of Freedom Hall.  Vistas of the American Plains, citizens living out their lives in our great country moves into images of the U.S. Presidents.  It is mesmerizing.
This museum is beautiful - full of photos, artifacts, video and hand-written notes commemorating George W. Bush's Presidency. I remember watching the dedication ceremony on the news (the five living Presidents of the United States were there!) and I was so happy to be able to visit less than a year after it opened.  
We had about an hour and a half to walk through the museum before our lunch reservation and we paused to take pictures and read the signs and documentation whenever something caught our eye.
Any interested visitor could spend hours reading and reflecting on the quotes and images related to George W. Bush's presidency.  It was hard to pick and choose which exhibits I should give more attention to.  That is until I rounded the corner and saw the actual twisted steel beams from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on display.  I caught my breathe, tried to articulate how I felt and started crying.  Yes, old friend that I haven't seen in 5 years, I am crying in the middle of the day in the middle of a museum.

Thankfully, Carol understood my feelings completely and suggested that we sit and watch the video presentation for a while, Kleenex in hand.  It was just the time I needed to compose myself.  The beams are huge and ruined and the fact that they were there effected me in a way that I hadn't expected.
The museum was fairly busy, but not so crowded that we didn't have a chance to take photographs without strangers walking into the frame.  Look at my pristine photo of the Oval Office as it was decorated during the Bush Presidency.  
Carol asked if I wanted to have my photo taken behind the desk.  A line was forming for those that were interested and we both decided that it would be a fun memento from our day.
Afterwards, we went out into the beautiful Texas sunshine (did I mention that the George W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library are on the grounds of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas?) and walked around the Texas Rose Garden.
There are no roses blooming in January, of course, but we noticed some of the native grasses and plantings and were happy to spend a little time out in the fresh air. 

This was my first visit to a Presidential museum and I highly recommend that you visit this magnificent tribute.  Tomorrow I will tell you all about lunch at Cafe 43.

No comments: