Have you ever visited a Presidential Library? From Hoover forward to Obama, the papers and ephemera of each President are housed in connection with the National Archives in a Presidential Library at a location of the former President’s choice. I’ve had the opportunity to visit the libraries of FDR, JFK, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and most recently LBJ. If you have the opportunity to visit one of these special libraries I encourage you to do so.
The LBJ library is located in Austin, Texas on the University of Texas campus and is open from 9 am to 5 pm seven days a week. It houses the archives relating to Lyndon Johnson’s career. The exhibits showcase Lyndon Johnson and First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson’s, time from his first job as a teacher through his decision not to run for a second term. Exhibits highlight significant events in his Presidency such as the creation of Corporation for Public Broadcasting and its progeny, NPR and PBS with iconic favorites from Sesame Street, a moon rock, and passage of significant pieces of legislation such as the Civil Rights Act and parts of the Great Society leaving lasting impacts on American society.
My favorite exhibit was located on the 10th floor and was a glimpse into the domestic life of the Johnson family while in the White House. Of great fun is a scale reproduction of the Oval Office as it was occupied by LBJ and, my personal favorite, Lady Bird’s office. Lady Bird’s office was decorated in vibrant colors of white and orange that remind me of wildflowers. I love her “can do” sign on her desk. As the story goes, Johnson surrounded himself with go-getters and o be called a “can do” person by Johnson was considered the ultimate compliment. I was inspired by this! I purchased my own “can do” paperweight from the bookstore for my desk. Now when I need a bit of inspiration I can simply look at my own “can do” reminder for a bit of creativity and a push to find the way forward.
Make certain to plan several hours to enjoy all the exhibits and enjoy wrapping yourself in a time capsule as you explore the Johnson era and don’t forget to stop by the bookstore for your own “can do” paperweight!