Bush library to house 43,000 artifacts
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 8, 2013 17:04
The scene is September 2001. It’s been just three days since the attacks that not only defiled the Manhattan skyline, but the Land of the Free itself.
A southern twang echoes lightly over the still smoldering rubble to thousands of rescue workers shoveling debris and treating injuries.
A worker shouts towards the voice, “I can’t hear you!”
The next words boom louder than ever.
“I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked down these buildings will soon hear all of us!”
Smoke clears and the tall, broad shouldered speaker is revealed standing atop a mound of dirt. President George W. Bush, holding a megaphone to reach the thousands of ears that were present that day at Ground Zero.
That megaphone is just one of the 43,000 artifacts that are going to be stored in the Bush Presidential Library that is opening in just two months.
“I believe the megaphone is perhaps our most iconic artifact,” Alan Lowe, the director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, said “and at this point, we do plan to use it in our permanent museum exhibit.”
In addition to mementos from the historic moments of Bush’s presidency, the library will feature gifts that the former president received from world leaders, celebrities and everyday people.
“These artifacts are physical reminders of an amazingly important time in our nation’s history,” Lowe said.
In 2010, during the library groundbreaking, some of the items were on display at a temporary exhibit in Meadows Museum.
These items included the baseball that was thrown as the first pitch at Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series, the 9mm pistol that Saddam Hussein was carrying when he was captured and jewelry given to the Bush family by the king of
However, in 2010, there were only about 50 artifacts displayed, just a fraction of the total amount.
“There are so many interesting objects that it is difficult to just place a few,” Lowe said.
But Lowe did mention a few interesting artifacts that will make their way into the exhibit including a baseball bat signed by 46 of the 62 living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, a Peter Max portrait of President Bush and a black Gibson electric guitar given to the president by B.B. King.
All 43,000 artifacts are being moved from a temporary home in Lewisville to the library. According to Bush Center officials, the move began in late November and at this point is nearing completion.
However, not all of the artifacts will be placed in the exhibit hall. The items not out on display will be kept underneath the library in the 65,000 square foot archive.
Also included in the artifacts is a set of gifts from Plano native Lance Armstrong, including racing bikes and autographed jerseys.
Despite Armstrong’s current predicaments involving the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the museum will still include the gear in the archive.
“We are a repository for the materials received during the Bush Presidency,” Lowe said. “[Lance’s] artifacts help create a picture of our nation at that time.”
The collection is primarily made up of gifts from Bush’s presidential days, but not entirely.
“We do have some gubernatorial artifacts,” Lowe said, “and many items from his post-presidency.”
While the opening of the library is April 25, the artifact exhibits will not be open to the public until May 1. For more information, and a 360-degree view of nearly 20 of the artifacts, visit http://www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/.