Thursday, 2 March 2017

Presidential Libraries and Museums

Presidential Museum and Library, College Station

As a fan of The West Wing I learned from the final episodes that it's a tradition for an outgoing US president to found a library and museum as part of their legacy of service to their country. I recently visited the Library and Museum of George H.W. Bush, based in the town of College Station in Texas, and very interesting it was too.

George father of the more recent president, George W. Bush (sometimes known as "Dubya"), who presided over the Twin Towers and Iraq War when Tony Blair was Prime Minister in the UK. George H.W. is warmly regarded and much respected in Texas and lives, with former first lady Barbara Bush, in Houston.

George H.W's museum is well worth a visit and is well up to the standard of all museums I've visited in the US. His life story is traced from childhood to retirement, with a focus on the ongoing motivation and work in public service in the US and overseas that both he and wife Barbara have given. It was an eye opener to see how much work both of them did for the good of many while he was president and I couldn't help but contrast his style and where he was coming from with that of the current incumbent. I wonder what his museum will be like, and if there will be a library? I gather he doesn't read books.

There were plenty of quotes on display of things George H.W. said, which offer a flavour of the man and what he considered important. This particular quote made me pause and wonder what meaning the current presdidency might give to the  age we are now living in.

There's a mock up of the Oval Office with it's desk flanked by flags. Apparently the president can choose what artefacts and pictures are displayed there, but the two flags have to remain. What was pleasantly surprising was how family-oriented the Bush's were and still are; one of George H.W's quotes focusses on the importance of family, and from all I learned form my visit, this extends to the nation as a family of people too.

I would probably not vote Republican if I was a US citizen, but in the 1980's, when George H.W. was elected the US did, on the whole, have a good, decent man in charge. 

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