Fun Facts about the LBJ Presidential Library

Found only at the LBJ Presidential Library: a helipad on the roof. Helicopters were used to transport the former President and landed here. After Johnson passed away in 1973, the FAA declared the roof unsafe for such activity and it hasn’t been used since. In the late 1970s, staff members were known to use the deck on the helipad to sunbathe. Photos of the sunbathers don’t exist – but we know who they are.

The Oval Office replica is accurate in every detail except it is 7/8 the size of the one in the White House. Original construction plans didn’t include an Oval Office replica. Even though construction was already underway, Johnson decided he wanted an Oval Office and outlined his wish in a telephone call to architect Gordon Bunshaft. The phone call lasted seven minutes and Johnson got his Oval Office, just a bit smaller than the one he used in the White House.
 
The Animatronic LBJ is a favorite of visitors. The animatronic LBJ, a talking, life-size LBJ who tells stories, is just one part of an exhibit on Humor, which includes political cartoons of the era.

Found in our collections:

  • Butter knife from Adolph Hitler’s silverware engraved with a Nazi insignia and “A” and “H” on either side. Gift to Lady Bird Johnson from Colonel Willard White, husband of Josefa Johnson White (LBJ’s sister). Colonel White brought the knife back from Berchtesgarten, Germany.
  • Letter from Paris-based singer/dancer Josephine Baker to Johnson after he became President in November 1963.
  • Telegram from actor John Wayne urging Johnson to intervene on behalf of an African American family whose son, James Williams, killed in Vietnam, had been denied burial in his hometown because of his race.
  • Photos of Elvis - one signed by Elvis Presley and the other signed by Colonel Tom Parker, his manager. The photos were sent to Walter Jenkins, LBJ’s aide.
  • Taxidermied alligator sent to Liz Carpenter. The tip of its tail has broken off.
  • Drawings by John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy created in November 1965 and given to LBJ in 1966.
  • Green metal baby buggy used by an unidentified anti-war protestor that was left at the White House.