Presidential libraries help visitors learn history through visual content

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By Adriana F. De Leon

The Public Historian, a journal published by the National Council on Public History and the University of California Press, recently produced a special issue that contains articles and reviews about each presidential library.

Dr. Thomas Clarklin, a history professor at this college, authored the article in Public Historian on the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Several copies of the journal are on reserve in the library in Moody Learning Center.

Other presidential libraries relatively close to San Antonio and included in Public Historian are the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at the University of Texas at Austin and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark.

The George Bush presidential library at Texas A&M University had its grand reopening Nov. 10, following extensive remodeling work, according to the university’s Web site.

The library, which opened in 1997, is now a high-tech facility that allows visitors to learn through visual content.

Unlike most libraries where “do not touch” is enforced, this library allows people to touch and experience new things by taking part in history.

Anyone interested in visiting the library can stop by during hours of operation from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The estimated drive time from this college is 3 1/2 hours, and the total estimated distance is 172 miles.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at the University of Texas at Austin holds more than 45 million pages of manuscripts and an extensive audiovisual collection and oral historical interviews with more than 1,000 individuals, according to the university’s Web site.

The hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week, except Christmas.

The estimated drive time for the 81-mile trip is 1 1/2 hours.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center, a 20,000-square-foot museum, is in a public park and is one of the largest attractions in Arkansas.

People can view photographs, video, text and interactive stations to educate themselves about the Clinton administration.

The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

On Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the center is closed.

The estimated drive time from San Antonio to Little Rock is nine hours, and the estimated distance is 593 miles.

Anyone planning a trip to these libraries might want to spend some time with a copy of Public Historian.


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