The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, or simply known as the LBJ Presidential Library, is a presidential museum and Library of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson. This museum and Library are located on the grounds of the University of Texas at Austin. This place happens to be one of the 14 Presidential Libraries that are managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and the permanent exhibits that you can check out while you’re there.
The plans to build a presidential library of Lyndon Baines Johnson began when he won the elections in 1964. After a year, William H. Heath, the chairman of the Board of Regents at the University of Texas at Austin, proposed that a library should be built on the university campus. Along with this, he also had a plan to construct the Johnson School of Public Affairs on the campus. In September 1966, the project was given a go signal. However, unlike other presidential libraries funded using private donations, the publicly-funded University of Texas had to pay at least $15 million of the $18 million budget needed to build the complex.
The design for the complex was completed in 1966, and the construction began the next year. In 1971, the Library was inducted, and even that is attended by then-President Richard Nixon and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
After Lady Bird Johnson died in July 2007, her body lay in repose in the Library and Museum, just like her husband’s had after his death in 1973.
The LBJ Library went under a multimillion-dollar redesign in 2012; most of the exhibits were closed during this time. In December that same year, the Library was reopened to the public. After a year, the facility started charging admission for the first time since its opening in 1971.
As we mentioned, the LBJ is one of 14 Presidential Libraries in the United States. Today, the LBJ Library features different exhibits from the 1960s, but remain relevant until today. Each show in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library allows you to explore and learn how legislation ratified by President Johnson still affects America until today. Here are the permanent exhibits in the LBJ Library you should not miss:
- The Civil Rights Exhibit – This exhibit highlights President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ratification of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights exhibit also tells the efforts of President Johnson in pursuing social justice during his presidency.
- The November 22, 1963 Exhibit – This exhibit remembers the moments after the infamous assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This exhibit features such as Johnson’s renowned “Let Us Continue” speech and the letter that Jacqueline Kennedy sent to LBJ.
- The Legacy Gallery Exhibit – In this exhibit, you will be able to learn more about the impact of LBJ’s presidency on America. From Medicare to Lady Bird’s wildflower campaign – the legacies of LBJ are innumerable.
- The Social Justice Gallery Exhibit – This exhibit pays tribute to Johnson’s support for underrepresented and underserved Americans. In this exhibit, you will be able to immerse yourself in the historical artifacts and documents and artifacts that’s relevant to LBJ’s decisions to protect consumer rights, the arts, and so much more.
- The Oval Office Exhibit – This exhibit features a replica of Johnson’s office. The exhibit space even has the desk that LBJ used when he was in the Senate to his days as President.
Aside from all these permanent exhibits that you can explore at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, you will also see LBJ’s Presidential Limousine here, and it is parked in the lobby of the museum. This vehicle was the exact car that Johnson used during his time in Austin.