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Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, early Superbowl Sunday morning (video on You Tube)










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Visit to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Super Bowl Sunday, 2012

We are POTUS geeks. We know it. Library, Birthplace, Museum, Summer Home, Winter White House, we visit and love them all.

Over this past weekend, we spent several hours visiting the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum In Austin, Texas.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum

JT Dykman and Lyndon Baines Johnson

JT with hair and the President

Our friend, JT Dykman, had worked in the White House during the Johnson Years and respected LBJ with all his considerable mind. In fact, JT considered Lyndon Baines Johnson to be one of, if not the, greatest American presidents.

I cannot argue the good and/or evil of Lyndon Johnson, but I do agree with JT on many levels -  certainly his achievements in the areas of racial justice and social protection for the disadvantaged people of this country stand alone. He was, like no other president, able to push through Congress the passage of legislation in both areas. At this point in time, it would seem his failure with the disastrous war in Vietnam is still what is most remembered about him.

(From the University of Texas, this is a listing and summary of "Landmark Laws of the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration.")

JT died a few years ago, but his character, integrity and loyalty have been a lasting influence in our lives.  Often, when we are unsure how to act in an ambiguous situation we smile and say, "WWJTD?"1

Knowing JT made our visit to this particular presidential library more meaningful than most because we felt like we were near the president with our friend as the incredible events of the 60s unfolded.

The Johnson Library is the third Library we have visited where the boxes of Presidential papers are a major design element of the museum and LIbrary space. It is pretty overwhelming to see them all together. (In the Clinton Library they are actually part of the supporting structure of the building itself. At The Carter Center they are behind transparent walls in a very dark, tall, mixed media room ) They are meant to make a powerful statement, and they do.

The Johnson Library

The red boxes are a cross-section of the 56,250 boxes of LBJ’s papers on four floors of the library...there are 45 million pages.

It’s fun to look at old family photos of the various presidents and their families when they were living in the White House. LBJ working the phones with his toddler grandson, Lynda Bird’s wedding at the White House, Lyndon sitting in his pool with dark glasses on, reading papers...

The best part of the Johnson Library was the timeline of his life, especially the timeline of his presidency. When we visit an historical museum, we like the experience to be as immersive as possible. This museum did a very good job of this. Poster size blow-ups of popular icons scattered throughout, popular music from back in the day; Nowhere Man, A Whiter Shade of Pale, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling and more played from one section, while We Shall Overcome and the voice of Martin Luther King came from around the room. There are oral histories being spoken by sharecroppers and poverty stricken black people, as well as Lady Bird’s oral history of the day in Dallas when her husband became the Thirty-Sixth President of the United States. TV sets were showing anti-war demonstrations and news coverage...  It was a gentle but rolling cacophony, which carried us on wings of sorrow and disillusionment back thru the 60s.

By late afternoon, it was back to the second decade of the 21st Century and Super Bowl Sunday. We left to pick up some beer, wine, and snacks to watch my Eli Manning and the New York Giants win the Superbowl.

We spent several hours reading, watching and listening to the exhibits in the library and museum.

1 What Would JT Do?

What a great tour of the LBJ library from your eyes. I have lived in Austin all my life and have been their only twice. I enjoyed the first time very much and already knew so much before I went. The second time was when Lady Bird was laying in state before they took her to the LBJ Ranch for burial. She was a very beautiful lady and Texas was very proud of her. I also was on an overpass of Loop 1 and watched the hearse and her family cars go by. The girls waived at everyone. If anyone gets to Texas, they also need to visit the LBJ Ranch it is beautiful.

"Pecan Grove-Austin" Kathy

When you get to Calif., don't miss the Reagan library.  To many, he is up there with George Washington----Bernie's cousin, and Lincoln----- the emancipator and father of the Republican party.


I loved your description of LBJ's Library- He was one of a kind!

Happy Trails!  Keep me in the loop,

Nancy C

I have never visited a presidential library, but will put some of them on my bucket list, and follow in your footsteps! There is stil time....

I of course admire Lyndon B. Johnson for the same reasons you do.  Civil rights and integration were Kennedy's vision, but Johnson pushed the laws through, literally.  He was such a consummate politician.  He could cajole, threaten, twist arms, and even engage in down and dirty blackmail.  But he got things done.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was his doing, as was Head Start and many other pieces of incredibly progressive legislation.  The man was a giant.  It is too bad that a war he did not start defeated him.


Library reminds me of the rare book library at Yale


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