George W. Bush Presidential Center 

Despite the initial glitch of not being able to find the parking lot (!) and having to PAY for parking, we got to the Center just as it opened at 9am. 

Security asked me if I was carrying a weapon. No. 

Then buy the tickets. $16 per senior!!!! Twice the cost of admission at Clinton Library.

The grounds are kept natural, Texas grasses.

The center hall has a digitally rotating mural, from the Texas sky to men in the military. 

First thing we noticed was the incredible quality of the volunteers. I mean they were superb, just superb.. no matter the question, no matter the problem, they were there, offering up stories and facts depending on what room we were in. A+++++++++ for the docents. A ton of them too, at every station. No agenda, just stories and facts. There’s a Bush Center app that is excellent, that logs you into their wi-fi and has an audio tour component. Maybe the Clinton Library had an app, but if so, we were never directed to it. 

The first major display after family photos was 9-11. Video of the attack, footage of Bush bullhorn moment saying I can hear you and footage of Bush throwing the pitch at the Yankees game right after 9-11. All pretty moving.

What we felt was remarkable about this Center is how interactive it is. Every exhibit has a touch screen component as well as guides if you preferred an analog version.  

But the best best best exhibit hands down is called Decision Points, same as the title of Bush’s post-presidency book. The gist is the visitor is presented with some of the many crisis decisions Bush had to make and we, the visitors, in an interactive mode with other visitors in the room, had to listen to experts on both sides of the coin then at the end, decide what we would do.Then the screen, with Bush on, told us what he chose.

Here are the four categories we got to vote on.

The front screen showed how everyone in the room was voting, you could hear some boos and groans as Bush said what he did.

It was excellent and you had very little time to make the decisions, in an Agree or Disagree mode after listening to experts on both sides of the issue.  

The Oval Office was a much more vibrant replication than at the Clinton Library. This was bright and big and with no photo restrictions. The three guides in the room had so much detail to offer.

No tour would be complete without the Bush dogs and video by the daughters on their time in the WH.

Lots of footage of Bush talking about how humor is so important to him, either making people laugh himself or others laughing AT him. 

The biggest difference I noticed in the Bush Center as compared to the Clinton Center is how the First Ladies were presented. Here, Laura plays an equal part, with much about her, what she did, her platform, and lots of footage of George talking to and with Laura and how George felt he’d be nothing without Laura at his side. NONE of that at the Clinton Center..None!!! But guys, it’s always the love of a good woman that keeps you in check, right?

Outside of the Oval Office is a rose garden and when in bloom, they are the Laura Bush roses.

The opposite side of the museum was the temporary exhibit with George Bush’s paintings of Wounded Warriors. Magnificent and the app walks the visitor through each portrait, that vet’s history, how he got hurt etc. 

Yay, bathrooms for men and women. Texas is voting on a bathroom bill soon. I bet a steak it’ll stay as is. 

The gift shop had lots of good stuff, this t-shirt my favorite. 

Overview, no matter your political persuasion or what you think of Bush as president, this Center is superb. A true representation of the man, his family, his hard decisions, his mistakes, his love of Texas, photos of the ranch in Crawford. We were there 3.5 hours. A must see if you are in Dallas.

28 thoughts on “George W. Bush Presidential Center 

  1. How did you vote re The Surge? Are you a yes or no in the Iraq war being the wrong decision for Bush?

    1. I voted yes for the surge. That was the only category where I felt I had a clear decision. I waffled on the fed money bailing out the banks versus letting them fail. I wasn’t sure if I felt federal troops at Katrina should have had the power to arrest. The visitor gets very little time to think and vote.
      I thought the war was the wrong decision for Bush yet I was okay with the surge.

  2. Thanks so much for the tour, very interesting. Now go to Herrera’s for some authentic Tex Mex!

  3. Terrific report. I especially liked the compliments given to the docents. Nice that they showed not only knowledge but pride in their jobs.
    Waco tomorrow?

    1. They all looked happy to be there too. So well spoken. Very professional. Exceptional in every way.
      Debating Waco. The thought of a three hour r/t car ride is giving us pause. CosHarbour emailed me a few suggestions in Dallas. We’ll decide tomorrow. The temp is close to 100 with heat index over 100. Walking Waco seems a tough sell.

    1. No need to curse. Get some class. Or should I ask.. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

  4. Thanks for the wonderful report. We will put this on our eventual field trip list. I’d love to hear how you find the locals. Texas, being nice and red, is on our move to list, but fairly near the bottom due to extreme heat and my husband having heard about how weird the people are. That report was from a friend who is a native Montanaian (?person born and bred in Montana?), which has the most bizarre locals I’ve ever encountered…

    1. We don’t know any locals. The only interaction we have is with people at the hotel, restaurants, sightseeing venues. Everyone soooooooooooooo polite and helpful with yes ma’am added. But, that said, I suspect few northerners can drop into Texas without needing a long time to assimilate. The state is a culture unto itself. I don’t see myself fitting in living here. I’d always be the New Yorker to the real deal Texans.

  5. Lived in Dallas for 6.5 years in the go go 80’s. I was always a “Yankee” even called it to my face. It was a fun time to be in Big D, tho! I had 2 good friends I met, who were native to Dallas, they were great!

    1. Wow! CosH once lived in Dallas too, hence his email of suggestions. Who knew that two of you lived here!! The odds are rare.
      We drove around some pretty neighborhoods today, just moosing and being nosy. Some huge houses.

      1. Hi to SB! I also lived and worked tv network job 1982 to 1986 in Big D. Living in Highland Park. Took Southwest Airlines 2 or 3 times every week from Love field to Houston, Tulsa, New Orleans, Austin, OKC, Baton Rouge, to cover 18 space shuttles at John Space Center, floods, hurricanes, mass murders and general Texas mayhem. I’m recommending that the eos road trip includes Fair Park, Los Colinas, Fort Worth and the Mansion Hotel. Do you have any other places to mention?

        1. Wow CH, not only were we both on The Eagle in NYC at the same time, but apparently we were in Dallas at the same time. I actually lived in an apt on Mockingbird lane right across from SMU for a little while. My landlord was T.D. Dickey. EOS should have some of their BBQ, but now you can get it in Yonkers, which I’ve done. It’s still great! I think the art museums in Dallas and Fort Worth are really good. Lunch at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. Maybe Billy Bob’s in Ft. Worth if EOS is brave she can ride the bull. Maybe the Neiman Marcus (needless markup as we used to call it) in downtown Main Street built in 1914. Or the NorthPark Mall if looking for the highend Texas lifestyle. I was working for Atlantic Richfield Company in Pubic Relations back then, I think our paths must have crossed.

        2. What fun that you lived right where we are, on Mockingbird Lane. That you and Cos were here in the same period, mind boggling coincidence.

  6. Great tour. Feel like I was right there too. No surprise the Clinton Library didn’t have much lovey-dovey with Hillary. I see George and Laura having a real solid marriage.

    There’s a lot I didn’t like about the Bush administration but I like the man.
    Where are you staying?

    1. I think many of us would agree that Bush made some bad decisions during his tenure. But the center did a great job of showing George the man as much as George the president. I didn’t see ANY Bill Clinton the man at his center.

      We’re staying right across from SMU and a ten minute walk to the Bush Center. We drove though so we could sightsee elsewhere afterwards.

  7. We were in Dallas about 15 years ago for a wedding. I connected with an email friend. She and her husband took us to their favorite TexMex place. Filled with locals and serving fine, inexpensive, huge amounts of food. Everything in Dallas seemed huge. The Cattle Drive sculpture sticks in my mind.
    SMU looked to me like it could pass for a New England college.
    My old tennis group had a couple of perfectly groomed Houston ladies. Next to them, I always appeared disheveled, which I probably was.

    1. The women of Dallas we’ve seen are all well-coiffed, well-dressed. Well-heeled too. We feel like schlubs even though I wear a dress every day and manage to comb my hair.

      We walked about SMU a bit. Gorgeous buildings. Wasn’t sure why the stadium is named after Gerald Ford. Anyone know?

  8. Yes, Ladies in Dallas put on full make up just to go to the grocery store! At least in the old days and the stores were always SO much nicer than back home! (up North – CT)

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