Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's Presidential

While we were in College Station for the wedding of Caroline and Brian, we learned that it is the home of the George Bush Presidential Library. I have never been to a Presidential Library before, and I was excited to have the opportunity to visit. I knew Jim would be interested, and grandson Matthew as well.

We arrived early, and stopped to take a photo of the first group. (Our second group would arrive just a bit later.) Here are Andrew and Darci with Haleigh, Matthew, and Ella, as well as cousin Elizabeth's boys, Riley and Carter.
This statue stands in the courtyard at the museum, and is called 'The Day the Wall Came Down'. The artist is Veryl Goodnight of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The horses in the sculpture are leaping over the rubble of the Berlin Wall. There are two sister castings of the sculpture, one stands in Berlin, given as a gift of friendship from the American people to the people of Germany. The second is here, at the George Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A&M University.
The museum visit begins with a short film, with narration by both President and Mrs. Bush, giving an overview of their life and the Presidency. It was enjoyable and informative, and a good way to prepare for the exhibits in the museum.

We started by exploring a special exhibit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the city of College Station, where Andrew, Matthew, and Riley checked out the model trains.
Haleigh and Ella greeted a fellow playing dominoes at the Dixie Chicken. They still play 'em there, and Jon has been working on mastering the game so he'll be ready for his next visit. Most of our group visited the Chicken while in College Station.
Also displayed in this area, was the Heisman Trophy belonging to John David Crow. He was, until 2012, A&M's only Heisman winner, and the only winner of legendary coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant. Of course, we all know that current A&M QB Johnny Manziel won as a freshman in 2012.
Interestingly, this jersey was hanging in the cottage in which we were staying during our trip to Texas. It was signed by the Heisman winner, John David Crow. I'm guessing the cottage owner is a pretty generous Aggie supporter. :)
We moved into the museum proper, and Riley and Matthew enjoyed learning about the Bush family on touch screen monitors.
They learned about George Bush's war years.
Ella checked out the little doghouses throughout the museum with answers to 'Millie's Quiz.' Millie, of course, was the Bush's White House dog.
It was interesting to look at the wedding pictures and replica of the dress worn by Mrs. Bush at their wedding.
A 'Capitol dome' marked George Bush's years in Congress.
Haleigh liked this statue of President Bush, and climbed right up to have a conversation with him.
So cute.
This is the best picture I got of the group with President Bush.
They all enjoyed looking in the windows of the White House.
It was all decked out for Christmas.
In the replica Oval Office, they had a chance to sit behind the desk and pretend to be President.
Here is Matthew.
President Riley.
I liked looking at the family photos behind the desk, which were the ones George Bush actually had in his office during his Presidency.
The girls took a turn on the phone.
Ella is making an important decision. Or ordering pizza.
Even Jim took a turn behind the desk.
President Adam.
Jennifer and future President #noahjames. :)
This is a replica of George Bush's Camp David office. I liked that there was a basket of frisbees under the table for the dogs.
Our group in the 'situation room.' Ready to resolve the next crisis.
Ella listens.
Haleigh takes her job quite seriously.
They checked out a replica barracks from Desert Storm.
And we learned about the Patriot Missiles.
At the end of the museum, each visitor has the opportunity to print a personalized letter from either President or Mrs. Bush. You type in your name on a touch screen, select from a list of questions you would like answered, and it prints out at the desk as you exit. I asked Mrs. Bush what advice she would give her grandchildren. I thought it was an appropriate question, and I received a thoughtful answer with three points of advice for both children and adults.

It was fun to be there during the Christmas season, and we enjoyed the decorations throughout the museum.
Our second group stopped for a photo before leaving. Noah, Jennifer, Bryan, Courtney, and Adam, along with Jim and me.
Our family has always enjoyed museums, and it was a treat to get to visit the George Bush Presidential Library, and learn about his life and legacy. We did not see President or Mrs. Bush, but we were told that they do visit fairly regularly. I would enjoy sitting down to chat with Mrs. Bush. I have always thought she was such a wise woman. And it takes a strong and special woman to survive being a First Lady AND a First Mother. :)

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