“For the first time ever at a presidential library, you can sit behind the most powerful desk in the world,” declares the brochure from the George Bush Library and Museum. By traveling to College Station, Texas, you can sit in the “Seat of Power” in an Oval Office replica!
At Papa Bush’s (as my mom calls him) museum, you can get a souvenir photo for just over $10, I think. Or you can pay a small fee ($5 the day we visited) to have your camera “commissioned” to the museum for personal photos. We were all over that!
We had plenty of time for pictures, since we visited on the day after Christmas in the late afternoon. The patient and friendly docent didn’t even question why I was holding a “Nerd Trip” sign.
The “office” features lots of Bush family photos, flags and faux windows, but I didn’t check if there was anything in the desk! If you go, tell us if you find anything in “Papa Bush’s drawers.”
At the Bush museum, you will also see Bush’s Camp David office.
By this point in our visit, we were under a severe time crunch, with an overhead announcer counting us down to the museum’s close to keep us on pace. We really did not have enough time to appreciate some of the other cool exhibits, such as this giant piece of the Berlin wall.
One of my favorite areas was the “Gifts of State,” featuring elaborate gifts from other countries. Seriously, there is a lot of gold and a lot of bling, and some of these things are worth millions. What types of gifts do our presidents bring when they travel abroad? Any ideas? All I can think of is food, so you can see where my focus is. (We also saw amazing Gifts of State at the LBJ library in Austin).
Here are some other fun things at the Bush museum:
- -Videos showing President Bush on Saturday Night Live and Barbara Bush on David Letterman.
- -An entire room dedicated to First Lady Barbara Bush
- -The Bush “Situation Room” (but we didn’t have enough time to try out the chairs!)
- -Fidelity, one of the Bushes’ boats.
Again we were racing, so we definitely shortchanged displays on the Gulf War. I also wanted more time to view the public “gifts,” including customized boots, needlepoint samplers and presidential likenesses in “a range of interesting materials” sent to President Bush from regular, everyday citizens.
When we visited, the museum had a display of First Lady dolls (Michelle Obama had not been added). In this photo, you can see the dolls of both Barbara and Laura Bush, along with Roslyn Carter, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton.
We learned a lot on our visit to Papa Bush’s museum and came away with a new appreciation for our 41st president. As always, I encourage you to go see for yourself! We leave you with a wider picture of the Oval Office replica, so you can see how big it is (notice the holiday poinsettias).
Next post: Happy Independence Day!