The Austin History Center's mission is to procure, preserve, present and provide the historical records that make up Austin's unique story.
Ever wonder what it would be like to be the president of the United States of America? The LBJ Library is probably the closest you'll come to finding out. Here, the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson is an open book. It's like stepping into the pages of a memoir.
Well, you can't really spy on him, but you can listen to recorded conversations . . . so you'd sort of be spying on the past. There are over 600 hours of presidential discussions archived at the library. What was the day-to-day life like there? How does a president communicate with those under his command? How does he handle all of that pressure? Why do they all seem to age 20 years during their four-to-eight-year tenure? Whether you're a serious history buff or someone who is just curious, the LBJ Library opens the door to a world that is usually locked shut to outsiders.
The library has 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, 5,000 hours of recordings, 54,000 objects including an art collection, clothing worn by the president and first lady, furniture from the Oval Office, pens that signed important documents such as the Voting Rights Act, and other one-of-a-kind artifacts.
Bunshaft was born in Buffalo, New York in 1909. He attended MIT, and after earning his Masters, he traveled Europe financed by fellowships he received. He then returned to New York and worked for architects including Louis Skidmore, eventually earning the honor to design buildings for the Worlds Fair of 1939. He served on the Presidential Commission of Fine Arts under Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon and won numerous awards.
The library is a 10-story building, and one of the highlights of the interior is the view of the archives from the Great Hall. It's a beautiful glass structure is filled with volumes of documents chronicling Johnson's Presidency. The building itself is an architectural highlight of the eastern side of the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
The library has recently hosted moderated conversations with a former secret service agent, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Former Vice President Joe Biden, to name a few. They also have educational programs for children and cultural events. Check their calendar when you visit and see what exciting things are happening!
Cover Photo: Building Exterior by Dan LaSota via Flickr Creative Commons