Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I have a research paper requirement for one of my classes (a class on US Presidents and foreign policy crises). I decided to pick a topic that required me to do research in the LBJ Presidential Library Archives. I had my archival research orientation today. I did not actually look at anything, but I'll be back later in the week.
On the tenth floor of the Presidential Library and Museum, they have a replica of the oval office as it looked during LBJ's term-and-a-half. It's much more impressive looking and detailed than it looks in these photographs. The museum is free, and it was apparently important to him that it not be a reverential gloss on those years. Accordingly, there's the expected stuff about what a great man LBJ was, his achievements in passing civil rights legislation and the Great Society programs, as well as a fair amount of detail on the things he felt he handled poorly (Vietnam). There's also an animatronic LBJ that plays recordings of the man himself telling off-color jokes with world leaders (I'll get pictures and maybe some video of it later this week).
Given that it's free, and the tendency of the last 20 years is for presidents to increasingly offer the public only flattering and heroic representations of themselves (not to mention classifying their presidential papers to keep them from pubic scrutiny for decades) people in Austin might be impressed by it.