Sunday, February 15, 2015

Visiting Presidential Libraries and Museums

By Nina Kendall

Lincoln Library
Are you looking to connect more with history?  Are you planning a trip with friends or family who isn’t as excited about history as you? Consider adding a Presidential Library visit to your calendar.  The Presidential Libraries and Museums are a special part of the National Archives and Records Administration that began at the behest of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939. Over the last 76 years this program has led to the creation of institutions that preserve the history of the presidency and share a special story.
            Inside a Presidential Library and Museum, you can explore the history and growth of the presidency and enjoy unique public program.  I have enjoyed visiting several of the Presidential Libraries and Museums. They combine the preservation of the past with a look toward the future. Thus far, I have been to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Presidential Library and Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The Lincoln Library is one of the many institutions dedicated to presidential history outside of the system administered by NARA.

Carter Library and Museum
            An excursion to Hyde Park puts you in the neighborhood of Gilded Age Mansions and the FDR Library. Here you can explore the legacy of FDR, tour his home, or gave upon a section of the Berlin Wall in the Garden. If you head west to Illinois, the Lincoln Library is a destination. You can walk through scenes of Lincoln’s life. See as Lincoln as a young man and then take your picture with the entire family outside a replica of the White House. Of course, you can head south to visit the Carter Library as well. The Carter Library is home to a theater, interactive exhibits, and a garden. You can stand in a replica of the Carter Oval Office, explore recent history, and enjoy interactive exhibits that inform you about the current mission of the Carter Center.                         

Below are links to the Presidential Libraries and Museums administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. I recommend you do a little planning before you go. Each of these museums has unique grounds and exhibits. You may want to look at the special events or activities planned for the day of your visit. The Carter Center host regular special exhibits like Kongo Across the Waters and brings in authors to speak to the public. Other libraries have active presence on social media outlets to connect with the public.

Hoover Library
West Branch, Iowa
Ford Library
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ford Museum
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Roosevelt Library
Hyde Park, New York
Nixon Library
College Park, Maryland
Nixon Library
Yorba Linda, California
Kennedy Library
Boston, Massachusetts
Truman Library
Independence, Missouri
Clinton Library
Little Rock, Arkansas
Carter Library
Atlanta, Georgia
Bush Library
College Station, Texas
Johnson Library
Austin, Texas

Reagan Library
Simi Valley, California

Eisenhower Library
Abilene, Kansas
 "Presidential Libraries and Museums of the National Archives." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.