A few weeks ago, I binge watched the 10-part Ken Burns/PBS documentary series about the Vietnam War. It was an incredibly detailed, heart breaking, and eye-opening look at a time that I didn’t quite understand but can feel the effects in today’s society. The documentary really piqued my interest in Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency, and I was looking for another opportunity to visit the LBJ Library at the UT campus.
With the Big Kid off from school for Veteran’s Day, we made a family outing to the Library. They have a special display of Sesame Street characters to celebrate 50 years since LBJ signed the Public Broadcasting Act into law. I was probably more excited about Big Bird than the kid was.
Also on special display are a collection of Dr. Madeleine Albright’s pins that she wore as a diplomat and Secretary of State. The pins are quite elaborate; some commemorated an event, some reflected her personality, and some celebrated the culture of whichever country she visited.
While LBJ never sought re-election as the Vietnam War dragged on, he signed so many important pieces of legislation that accelerated the Civil Rights movement forward. As part of the permanent collection are recorded phone conversations with Martin Luther King Jr., Harry & Bess Truman’s Medicare cards (the first ones issued as part of the healthcare program that LBJ signed into law), and his edited speech card after JFK’s assassination.
Of the handful of times I’d visited the LBJ Library, I never made it beyond the 4th floor’s Great Hall. But we took the elevator up to the 10th floor to see their replica of the Oval Office and Lady Bird Johnson’s office.
Living in Texas, we have Lady Bird Johnson to thank for the wildflowers that bloom along highways and road ways each spring. We also live close to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is a beautiful oasis that hosts community events.
We are lucky in Austin to have this treasure in our city, and I hope we continue LBJ’s vision of a Great Society. I learned so much about him, his accomplishments, and the many important civil changes that took place during his presidency.
While I normally breeze through any museum gift shop, I couldn’t help buying this little bobble. I have a feeling I’ll be wearing it a lot in 2018.
Have you visited any Presidential Libraries? Any recommendations for me?