Update on LBJ Library Redesign

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum

A New Day for LBJ
An update on the major redesign of the LBJ Library

In late March, the bulk of the major construction in redesigning the LBJ Library begins. Visitors should expect that the core exhibits of the Library will be closed. Visitors are encouraged to check the Library website often for updates on our progress, www.lbjlibrary.org.

Ground Floor and Great Hall Exhibits (3rd and 4th floors)
Beginning March 26, 2012, the core exhibits of the LBJ Library will close for renovation.

Tenth Floor Exhibits
Currently through mid-July: Oval Office and First Lady’s Gallery will be open

Museum Store
The Museum Store is scheduled to open in late April.

The Library’s Reading Room will remain open for researchers during regular business hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

When the redesign is complete, visitors will enjoy a contemporary, engaging experience relating to one of the most significant presidents and eras in our country’s history.

“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.

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.

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.

About the LBJ Library and Museum
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, one million feet of film, 2,000 oral histories, and 5,000 hours of recordings from the public career of Lyndon Johnson and his close associates.

The Museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Art on Tap at The Blanton

Sam Hovland and Katy Wilson

Sam Hovland and Katy Wilson getting excited for Art on Tap. Photo: Oliver Martin.

Katy Wilson, public programs intern at the Blanton Museum of Art and a UT art education graduate student, organized Art on Tap: Craft Beer and Local Fare, an event at The Blanton this spring that features tours of our American Scenery and Go West! exhibitions, followed by food and beer tastings selected from regions represented in the shows. Katy interviewed sommelier Sam Hovland and chef Mat Clouser, The Blanton’s partners for the event. Here’s an excerpt from the Q&A. (The full interview appears on the Blanton Blog.)

During Art on Tap, guests will get to try different beers selected because of ties to the art in Go West! and American Scenery, two exhibitions currently on view at The Blanton. Can you tell us how you selected the art works and corresponding beers for the event?

Sam Hovland: Some of the art choices are based on places where Mat and I had spent time, and some are regionally selected so that our progression made sense. We usually chose the beers first and then paired the food afterwards. We knew that we wanted to do the food as three courses, each delivered as a pairing with two beers, so we had to keep that in mind as we narrowed down the art, beer, and food choices.

Mat, you are creating food pairings to complement the beers and art works in the exhibitions. Where do you find inspiration when devising new dishes?

Mat Clouser: Inspiration can and does come from anything. I am always trying to leave myself open to any new ideas or styles. I read about food quite a bit, which tends to inspire my thoughts while I am out walking. As Nietzsche once said, “all truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Mine frequently come this way, with a great amount of clarity to them, as well. I think just being in the vastness of space, rather than the typical confines of a kitchen matters. Beyond that, my predominant inspiration tends to be based on seasonality and availability. Nature supplies us with some pretty amazing stuff; I wouldn’t say I try to stay out of its way, but more that I try to accent its great ingredients with my own idiosyncrasies. I do try to spend a great deal of time determining how sensible the food can be: whether the ingredients make sense together, if they might be traveling too far to rationalize their usage, given their toll on our and their own environments. I have to sit on ideas for a while sometimes, some disappear from memory, but the persistent ones almost always become fabulous. I imagine one might call that pragmatic gastronomy, though I think for many chefs it is the one true path to good food. Lastly, I have been meditating on the Dada and Surrealist movements of late: the concepts of unique juxtapositions in food, the playfulness of including some non sequitur into a dish or meal, rule breaking, and in particular the idea of cooking via psychic automatism.

When can we expect your new restaurant, Swift’s Attic, to open its doors? Will the food served during Art on Tap provide a sneak peak of your new menu?

MC: Swift’s Attic will be opening sometime after SXSW, as we want to invite people to come and visit us at a less hectic and congested time and place. We’ll do it when it’s safe to go back downtown, so to speak. The food for Art on Tap is a mixture of things that will be on our menu, albeit with custom tweaks to fit the presentation, and some things that we think compliment the beers, paintings and locales. Six items in total, one paired with each beer, ranging in texture, flavor, and inspiration. Most will be vegetarian, while I am not a vegetarian; I feel that they end up suffering too often when eating out. My, and Swift’s Attic, intent is for there to be many options, for all palates, that are quite delicious on their own, meaty or not. That being said, I am somewhat of a Pork Spiritualist, so do be on the look out for that!

Continue reading the Art on Tap Q&A on the Blanton Blog …

Harry Ransom Center Acquires Papers of T. C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle’s notes for "When the Killing’s Done." Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center.

The Harry Ransom Center recently announced its acquisition of the papers of T. C. Boyle, the best-selling author of thirteen novels and numerous short stories that showcase his lush prose and often cynical humor. Austin residents have the opportunity to see the prolific writer next Monday, March 19, at BookPeople, where he will read from his latest novel, When the Killing’s Done. BookPeople recently shared this brief interview with Boyle about the novel.


Boyle writes with energy and imagination about a broad range of topics, from such American iconoclasts as Frank Lloyd Wright, health impresario John Harvey Kellogg, and sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, to issues related to environmentalism and class struggles. His works have been widely acclaimed by critics and readers alike.


Boyle’s archive, which is now housed at the Ransom Center, covers the breadth of his career, spanning more than 30 years and illuminating the creative development of his works through research materials and notes, manuscript drafts, proofs, correspondence, publishing files, and teaching materials.


Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley noted, “T. C. Boyle is one of the most significant and respected authors writing today, and his archive will be a tremendous resource for the scholars who will study his work and career for generations to come. Boyle saved and organized all of his papers. Few archives so clearly capture the working life and imagination of an author.”


The papers will be accessible for research at the Ransom Center once they have been cataloged.


Boyle has a reputation for giving great live readings, so you won’t want to miss his performance at BookPeople on March 19. With his archive safely ensconced at the Ransom Center, Boyle can now call Austin home.

Explore Across the Divide at the VAC!

There are only 6 days left to see Across the Divide at the Visual Arts Center!

This unique group exhibition features 24 Chinese American artists and focuses on the shared cultural identity over differing geopolitical convictions.  The artists are of various ages and come from different parts of China, and the works explore their personal cross-cultural perspectives in relationship to the changes that have been brought by China’s current social, economic, and cultural development. The Department of Art and Art History’s own associate professor in Studio Art, Beili Liu has a beautiful sculpture in the exhibition and is the exhibition’s faculty sponsor.   On Tuesday, March 6th at 6:30 PM, Dr. Yun-Chiahn C. Sena, an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History who specializes in Chinese art and culture, will lead a round table discussion to explore the common thread among the Across the Divide artists as well as the history and direction of contemporary Chinese art today.

Don’t forget, Diana Al-Hadid’s Suspended After Image, Justin Boyd: Dubforms, (im)possibilties and New Prints 2011 are all closing on the 10th of March. Don’t miss your last chance to see the diverse and vibrant work in Across the Divide!