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Traveling Around - College Station, Texas - George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum
George H. W. Bush Presidential Museum is located on the campus of Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. Parking Lot 41 is directly across the street from the front entrance to the museum and parking is free. The view of the museum in the above picture is from the parking lot and across the fountain at the entrance.
To the left of the main entrance is a sculpture by Veryl Goodnight. Entitled "The Day the Wall Came Down", it is a twin statue to one that was erected in a reunited and free Berlin in 1998. It has a stallion and four mares running free through the rubble of the Berlin Wall.
Inside the main entrance is a large rotunda. On the left is the information and ticketing counter. On the right are restrooms and a movie theater that shows an 18 minute movie every half hour on the life and times of the president. We toured the museum first and then went to the movie.
There is an audio wand tour available at the desk near the entrance to the museum proper. The museum will take the viewer through the 31 stations of the exhibits. First is an exhibit concerning itself with transportation while in the presidency. There is a plethora of interesting facts surrounding the airplanes and automobiles used. One tidbit was that in order to maintain the air fleet of two large airliners and multiple helicopters requires a staff of 800 military personnel.
Next, the exhibits begin with a welcome and the a history of the families - both President Bush's and of the family of Mrs. Bush. It spends time and space through the childhood and education of the president. It illustrates with pride his baseball career at Yale. He was a left handed first baseman and was captain of the team during his last year. He graduated after his service in the Navy. While in the Navy and on a photographic combat mission, his plane was shot down in the Pacific. He was rescued and returned to duty.
The exhibits show that after graduating from Yale, he moved his family to Odessa, Texas, and then to Midland, Texas, where he began to be active in public service. That service including the YMCA, a bank, and the Republican Party. On exhibit is a replica of the Studebaker that the family drove to Texas.
The exhibits point out many little known facts. For instance that George H. W. Bush was a tall man. At 6'2", only Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, and Thomas Jefferson were presidents that were taller than the president. The statuary in the museum is very interesting and a lot of fun as it is attuned to making the visitor feel welcome as evidenced by the seated figure below.
The exhibits then take the viewer through the national prominence part of President Bush's life. His election to the House of Representatives and his subsequent appointment in 1971 as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. In 1972 he was chairman of the Republican National Party. On display is a letter to then President Nixon recommending that President Nixon resign because of the impact his presidency was having on the nation. Later in 1974, President Ford appointed him as liason to China where he served until he was asked to be Director of the CIA in 1976.
There are several exhibits from the time in 1979 when he announced as a candidate for the presidency of the United States. He withdrew this candidacy in 1980 when he was asked to run as vice president to Ronald Reagan. There are several exhibits that illustrate his campaign in 1989 for the presidency and his subsequent incumbency.
Around one of the many corners in the museum is a piece of the Berlin Wall that came down with demolition beginning in the summer of 1990 and being completed in 1992. The formal German reunification was completed in October of 1990.
In that same area of the museum is the First Lady's Exhibit that has an anteroom featuring a flim entitled "Bushes Unplugged". The viewer can seat themselves on a overstuffed couch and watch the family poke fun at themselves. It includes intereraction with and an impersonation by Dana Carvey. One of the statements by President Bush that is highlighted in this area is that "I have opinions of my own - strong opinions - but I don't always agree with them".
The final exhibits are down a long corridor that deposits the viewer back by the entrance where the audio wand can be returned. There is an exhibit in this area of Memento Letters and a registration book.
If viewers wish, they can spend several very informative hours at the museum. There is an admission charge. The hours are pretty straightforward. There is a lot of information available on the museum's web site.