The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum has begun work on a major redesign that will give visitors a contemporary, engaging experience relating to one of the most significant presidents and eras in our country’s history. In the coming year, new exhibits will be installed on the three public exhibit floors of the Library, giving the interior a completely new look and feel.
“This is a new day for LBJ,” says Mark K. Updegrove, LBJ Library Director. “President Johnson insisted that the LBJ Library present an unvarnished look at his presidency, along with the triumphs and turmoil of the times. Now is our opportunity to present this story using 21st century technology with state-of-the art interactive elements.”
The last major renovation of the LBJ Library was in 1984. This redesign will take about one year to complete, with a grand opening scheduled for December 2012, in celebration of what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday.
The LBJ Library will remain open throughout the construction; however, parts of the Library will be closed at times. Visitors are encouraged to check the Library’s website often for updates on construction. On the website, www.lbjlibrary.org, the public may also sign up for monthly email progress reports which will feature new photos and videos. Public and school tours of the Library will be available until February 28, 2012. Please check the website for the date when tours will resume.
The Library’s Reading Room will remain open for researchers, students, and the public during regular business hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
December 2011 – March 2012
• Lobby, main exhibit floors, and Oval Office remain open.
• Museum Store will close for renovation.
March 2012 – December 2012
• New Museum Store opens.
• Main exhibit floors will be closed.
• Oval Office exhibit will close for a few weeks in December.
• Grand Opening as part of the celebration of what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday.
In dedicating the LBJ Library in May 1971, Lyndon Johnson said, “It is all here: the story of our time – – with the bark off… This Library will show the facts…not just the joy and triumphs, but the sorrow and failures, too.” In keeping with President and Mrs. Johnson’s commitment to transparency and objectivity, Library staff and designers have dug deep into the Archives and Museum collections to showcase materials that have never before been seen.
To ensure accuracy, independent interpretation, and impartiality in this complete overhaul of the exhibits, the LBJ Library has consulted, and will continue to consult with, esteemed historians in presenting the history of Lyndon Johnson. Those consultants include Michael Beschloss, Robert Dallek, and Douglas Brinkley, as well as many of those who worked in the Johnson Administration.
Highlights of the Library redesign:
• In fifteen interactive locations, visitors will pick up telephones to hear the voice of President Johnson in recorded telephone conversations.
• Visitors will have access to a hand-held guide featuring a touch screen that makes photos, audio, and videos available to the user.
• The Museum Store will double in size.
• The animatronic LBJ – the life-size figure of LBJ who moves and tells tall tales – is getting a new suit of clothes and will be part of an exhibit on LBJ Humor.
• There will be 3 new theaters showing films on Civil Rights, LBJ’s Legacy, and The First Family.
• New interactive exhibits will include: “The Journey of a Bill” illustrating how a bill is passed in Congress, “Lasting Impact” showing how legislation enacted in the Johnson administration still resonates today, and an exhibit about the Archives, giving the visitor a firsthand look inside the archival boxes, along with a guide to exploring the historical papers.
• The 10th floor will feature the “First Family in the White House.”
• In the section on the Vietnam War, the visitor will act as an advisor to the President and will participate in 3 key decision points in the War.
The LBJ Library has contracted with Gallagher and Associates of Washington, D. C., to design and oversee construction of this project, which is estimated to cost approximately $10 million. Gallagher and Associates has completed award-winning redesigns of the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter Presidential Libraries. “The renewal of the LBJ Library is a unique opportunity to underscore the impact and legacy of the Johnson Presidency for current and future generations,” says Patrick Gallagher, Principal of Gallagher and Associates. “Through dynamic storytelling and highly engaging technology and media, visitors will experience LBJ on a personal level and come to understand his deeply emotional commitment to the people he served as 36th President of the United States.”
Renovation of the LBJ Library will be funded by private donations through the
non-profit Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. The Foundation provides funding not available from the federal government to enhance the visiting public’s experience and provides grants for scholars and researchers who come to mine the Library’s vast collections. “This redesign is an exciting new chapter in the evolving story of the LBJ Library as a dynamic, forward-thinking institution,” says Elizabeth Christian, President of the LBJ Foundation. “In exploring the new exhibits, visitors will experience the personal and political lives of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson set against the backdrop of world events at the time. And importantly, the vast and sweeping legislation passed during the Johnson Administration will be given context; visitors will understand how those laws impact all of us today.”