George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Field review by the editors.

College Station, Texas

Most of America's recent Presidents have lived long enough to open their own presidential museums, thereby ensuring that history presents them freshly scrubbed and in a sometimes goofy light.

Richard Nixon was the first of these septuagenarian trailblazers, followed by Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush, the 41st President, threw his own creased Stetson into the ring in 1997.

The George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum is long on glory and short on critique, which could lead one to wonder why he was voted out of office after only one term. A World War II room chronicles Bush's stint as a fighter pilot in the Pacific. As his political career unfolds, the exhibits are housed in faux-Capitol buildings and other DC landmark replicas, with American flags in abundance.

WW 2 exhibits.

Featured exhibits include a framed embroidery of a stalk of broccoli; President H.W. Bush's Oval Office chair, called "The Seat of Power;" a 12-foot-tall slab of the Berlin Wall; and a "Gifts from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" display of gold and silver camels, palm trees, miniature replicas of mosques, and no mention of Osama bin Laden. Another exhibit, of Bush's Kennebunkport motorboat, recalls that the former President, known for physical hijinks in his retirement, was suspected (by us) of killing Andre the Seal in a moment of "I'm as spry as any 20-year-old" recklessness in 1986.

Prez and Mrs. Bush slippers.

In the gift shop, copies of Vice-President Dan Quayle's book "Worth Fighting For" were for sale. We also liked the snazzy pair of slippers crafted to look like the Commander-in-Chief and First Lady sleeping in beds with American flag comforters.

On hand to congratulate the ex-President at the grand opening was ex-Prime Minister of Japan, Miyazawa Kiichi. Bush threw up on Kiichi at a state dinner in 1992, which spawned a Japanese slang verb, bushusuru ("Bushing it"), meaning "to puke." These facts don't merit a special exhibit in the museum -- yet. But Gerry Ford's Museum finally put the Squeaky Fromme gun on display, so you never know....

Ten years after it opened, during the presidency of George H.W. Bush's son (sometime called "Shrub" or "43"), the museum underwent a $8.3-million-dollar face lift. Visitors can now sit in a replica Oval Office, or sit in a situation room while they "make decisions" as President, or sit in a tent and relive Desert Storm by hearing jets fly overhead and bombs explode.

Barbara Bush was buried on the museum grounds in April 2018. George joined her eight months later.

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George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Address:
1000 George Bush Dr. West, College Station, TX
Directions:
Hwy 6 south to Hwy 60 (University Drive). Hwy 60 west past the Texas A&M University campus to Hwy 2818 (Harvey Mitchell Pkwy). Hwy 2818 south to Hwy 2347 (George Bush Drive), and the Hwy 2347 east to the museum.
Hours:
M-Sa 9:30-5, Su 12-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
979-691-4000
Admission:
Adults $9.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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July 20, 2019

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