It was the first visit to a presidential library for both of us. And as it's the only presidential library with no admission fee, we feel that we chose a good one to start with. (It being the only one in the city we live in helps, too.) Also, you know what's fun? Walking into a museum and announcing, "We're new here." Museum volunteers instantly go from "friendly" to "eager" when they hear that; we've gotten so many tips on stuff that way.
Anyway! I try to keep basic information about our presidents in my mental files, but of course, when faced with an actual building filled with actual facts, my RAM tends to stop working. Chad asks me, "Was Johnson after Nixon?" and I answer, "No, he was before Nixon, after Kennedy... wait. After Kennedy, but before... um. Well, he was before Nixon, but I don't know if he was right before Nixon." Then Chad asks, "So he was Kennedy's Vice-President?" And I say, "Yeah. Yeah, he must have been." Chad: "So he was a Democrat?" Me: "Oh. Yeah. I guess he was." Geez.
I had another of those imaginary conversations with my family while were there, but this one was more fun than the imaginary UT tour... my parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbours) would be in their element in this place: My dad would drag up every memory of that era and regale us with it. We would all have fun.
And then afterwards we could argue over where we would eat lunch.
So, here's what we saw:
Yes, I did take a picture of all the Indiana-related memorabilia in the place. But this one was really fun.
Some of the pens that Johnson used to sign stuff. This was quite a large display, but I'm not too clear on whether these are ones that the President kept for the library, or if people gave them to the library after having them for a while. As I understand it, presidents usually give away pens they use to sign major legislation. And having gotten this far without a West Wing reference, here ya go. Danny (a reporter) asks CJ (the press secretary) why the president is signing a bill with 14 pens when "Josiah Bartlet" only has 13 letters: The president used the final pen to dot the "i" and cross the "t"s.
A mural with the various presidents LBJ worked with while in office.
It's only fair that Chad gets the California paraphernalia when I took pics of all the Indiana stuff.
When the former president directs you to the elevator, by golly, you'd better go.
The archives. All of LBJ's papers are in these four stories and are available to researchers, but not the general public. Looks pretty impressive, anyway.
This model of the Johnson Oval Office is 7/8ths the size of the real thing, and it was kind of small; I'm now wondering what the scale was on the West Wing set, because it looks huge when I see it on my teeny TV.
Anyway, this is the former President's desk as he had it.
And a coffee table with a phone inside. I'm betting there was not a lot of coffee actually placed on this table during LBJ's years in office.
The presidential seal in the ceiling.
And Lady Bird's office. From what we could gather, this room was Mrs. Johnson's actual office in the presidential library, and when she stopped using it, they put up a glass wall and turned it into a display. It's possible that they moved this stuff here from the room she really did use as her office, but regardless of where in the building Mrs. Johnson used to sit, this is what her office looked like-- including the papers on the floor, because she liked to use multiple surfaces to sort things. I kind of hope that this was her office, actually, because it has a fabulous view of Austin (it's on the 10th floor).
Come visit us & we'll show you the rest of the building in person. :)