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Lyndon Baines Johnson Library opens new exhibits after multi million dollar renovation
President Lyndon Baines Johnson pens that he used to sign major legislation are displayed at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. An insider’s look at how Johnson delt with challenges is on display at the newly remodeled LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, where the old 1970s-style exhibits now use 21st century technology to put visitors in Johnson’s shoes. Mark Updegrove, the library’s director, said the reopening comes as historians take a fresh look at Johnson’s efforts to fight poverty and improve the health of the nation by creating a Great Society. AP Photo/Statesman.com, Jay Janner.

By: Anne Wheeler

AUSTIN, TX.- On Saturday, December 22, 2012, the LBJ Presidential Library unveiled innovative, state-of-the art exhibits giving visitors a contemporary experience relating to one of the most significant presidents and eras in our country’s history. Following a massive yearlong renovation, new exhibits have been installed on the three public floors of the Library. By incorporating the latest technology and interactive elements used in museums today, the Library has a completely new look and feel.

“Our goal is for visitors to better understand this largely misunderstood president,” said Mark K. Updegrove, LBJ Library Director. “The redesigned Library will provide meaningful context to the vast and sweeping legislation passed during the Johnson Administration and visitors will learn how those laws impact us today. Exhibits will explore all aspects of Johnson’s presidency, including the Vietnam War. President Johnson insisted that the LBJ Library present an unvarnished look at his Presidency-- the triumphs and the turmoil. Now we share this story with new generations.”

New features of the LBJ Presidential Library include:

• A downloadable app and handheld guide which give visitors the choice of several different tours, including a tour in Spanish

• Unprecedented access to private telephone conversations of the President

• An interactive Vietnam War exhibit where visitors experience elements of the President’s decision-making process

• The ability to join the conversation through social media as visitors tour exhibits

• An interactive look at how legislation passed under LBJ affects visitors today

• New theaters and films on President Johnson, civil rights, LBJ’s legacy, and the First Family

The redesign offers visitors a rich cultural and historical destination. Until now, the LBJ Library has been the only one of the thirteen presidential libraries that has not charged admission. To sustain this vibrant, evolving institution, the LBJ Library charges admission for the first time in its 41-year history when the new exhibits open. This decision was made after thoughtful consideration by the LBJ Foundation Board and has the support of the Johnson family. “The redesign is an exciting new chapter in the history of the LBJ Library as a dynamic, forward-thinking organization,” said Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation. “President Johnson wanted the Library to use the best technology available, giving visitors a comprehensive, engaging experience. The Board strongly believes he and Mrs. Johnson would approve this decision.”

Construction began on the renovation of the LBJ Presidential Library in December 2011. The Library will open the new exhibits on December 22, 2012, in honor of Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday.

The LBJ Library contracted with Gallagher and Associates of Washington, D. C., to design and oversee construction. Gallagher and Associates has completed many award-winning projects, including redesigns of the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter Presidential Libraries.

In keeping with President and Mrs. Johnson’s commitment to transparency and objectivity, the new exhibits will showcase materials from the archives and museum collections that have never before been seen. To ensure accuracy, independent interpretation, and impartiality in the redesign of the exhibits, the LBJ Library consulted with, and sought the participation of, esteemed historians in presenting the history of Lyndon Johnson. Those include Michael Beschloss, Robert Dallek, Robert Caro, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, as well as many of those who worked in the Johnson Administration.

Renovation of the LBJ Library is funded by private donations through the LBJ Foundation. Kicking off the capital campaign were lead gifts totaling $1 million from Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughters of President and Mrs. Johnson. Former Texas Lt. Governor Bill Hobby and Austin civic leader Ann Butler each pledged $1 million to the redesign. Significant contributions have also been made by Eleanor B. Crook of San Marcos, Texas, Diane Connell of Killeen, Texas, and the J. B. Fuqua Foundation of Atlanta.

“Through these new exhibits, the political and personal lives of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson come alive for visitors,” said Elizabeth Christian, President of the LBJ Foundation. “They will learn about the decisions President Johnson faced, the impact of his social programs, and his passion for critical issues such as education, civil rights, the environment, health care, and the arts.”





Last Week News

December 22, 2012

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Akron Art Museum's 90th anniversary year crescendos with a pledge of a major gift

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Hamburger Kunsthalle exhibits the work of Artist and author Annette Wehrmann

Daniel & Florence Guerlain Foundation announces winners of Contemporary Drawing Prize

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December 21, 2012

Mexican archaeologists find another 1,200 year-old grave at Atzompa in Oaxaca

RISD museum opens an exhibition of beautiful and rarely seen prints and books

Louvre cements spot as world's most-visited museum; website seen more than 11 million visitors

Guggenheim Museum in New York acquires sculpture by artist Mark Grotjahn

Collection of paintings recording life behind the German trenches during World War I to go on sale

MoMA presents Christian Marclay's groundbreaking video installation "The Clock"

The Playmate as fine art: Seven contemporary artists interpret Playboy's iconic centerfold

Vancouver Art Gallery announces major donation of photographs by Robert Frank and Charles Gagnon

Christie's New York announces it will offer over 400 lots during Americana Week in January 2013

Bonhams in London appoints Matthew Haley as Head of Books, Maps and Manuscripts

Anonymous benefactor buys Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 1950s home in Phoenix

$66 million Thomas Kinkade estate dispute secretly settled by wife and girlfriend of artist

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Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian launches new website for students

America's signature for freedom series fountain pens lead Bonhams Fine Writing Instruments Sale

Jackson glove sells for record-breaking $200K

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December 20, 2012

Field Museum cutting staff, overhauling operations and limiting the scope of its research

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' among 25 selections added to United States film registry

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December 19, 2012

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December 18, 2012

Moscow Design Museum opens with an exhibition of Soviet post-war design

Louvre boss Henri Loyrette to step down at the end of his current term of office

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National Portrait Gallery in London buys artist Craigie Aitchison's own slashed self-portrait

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December 17, 2012

French art masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou travel to Shanghai for the first time

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