A new look for Austin’s LBJ Museum

Sep 05, 2012

by Helen Anders

Lyndon Baines Johnson's Presidency was set against the turmoil of the Vietnam War and racial conflict. But laws passed during his term affect the way we live today: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as laws requiring that you wear seat belts, have smoke detectors in your home, and be able to know the ingredients in foods you buy. That's the key element of the renovation of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and  Museum in Austin, Texas, scheduled to reopen on December 22 to commemorate the 100th birthday of the late Mrs. "Lady Bird" Johnson.

Since its debut in 1971, this museum has fascinated visitors with, as LBJ himself put it on opening day, "the story of our time—with the bark off." The renovated museum will further engage visitors, says director Mark K. Updegrove, "allowing us to see this President of a bygone era in a contemporary context." Additions include listening stations offering LBJ's recorded telephone conversations previously available only to researchers.

You'll see new artifacts such as his copious correspondence with other Presidents and three new films that relate LBJ's life and the times. The popular animatronic of the President gets a new outfit as well. For the reopening, the venue will embrace a new name, a simple one by which the man is most known: the LBJ Presidential Library. (512) 721-0200; lbjlibrary.org.

[published in AAA Alabama - September/October]