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Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
One of the panels in this hall included a close-up of LBJ. There were additional panels of other presidents of his era. 7.17 Texas ratingStar
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum guyonthego

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is the official presidential library for Lyndon Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. The library opened in 1971 and is located next to but is not part of the University of Texas at Austin. The museum and visitor center is in a 10 story building that has a slightly futuristic look. Primary exhibits include a timeline of Johnson's life, major events and accomplishments during his presidency and displays about White House life. There also is an overview film, a rotating exhibit, and a gift shop.

Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973) rose from humble beginnings in mid Texas to the pinnacle of power in the United States. Most of his life was spent in public service. He was one of the few presidents to serve in both houses of Congress as well as Vice President and President of the United States. Johnson was both admired and despised, especially toward the end of his presidency. Depending on one's political perspective, he achieved notable successes in domestic affairs such as with civil rights and the Great Society, but also was reviled for escalating US involvement in the Vietnam War. Johnson was both arrogant and compassionate. He was highly effective at influencing others but also could be harsh and belittling. A workaholic and heavy smoker, he lived only a few years after the end of his term in office.

The library and museum will appeal most to those interested in government matters and civil affairs. However, it scores lower in a "fun" sense. For example, there are fewer interactive displays and gifts from foreign governments than with some other libraries. An animatronic Johnson is worth checking out though if you want to get a sense of Johnson's story telling ability. The layout of the museum is unusual in that the first couple of floors and the tenth floor have exhibits, but the middle floors which contain presidential archives are not open to the public. An audio tour is available for a modest fee, but provided little extra value so can be skipped. The overview video was worthwhile, and the timeline about Johnson's life was informative. The Great Hall upstairs from the entrance floor also was impressive in size and design. This area has distinctive murals of Johnson and other presidents with whom he served. The most interesting exhibit area was the core one upstairs on Johnson's presidency. It had more information about his accomplishments and major events during his time in office. Many people also will want to go to the tenth floor to see the replica Oval Office, which is always a crowd favorite at presidential libraries. Also on the tenth floor was a reasonably good video about Johnson family life in the White House and additional information on Johnson's wife, Claudia, who was quite a lady. While not a must see, this library is one of the better political/historical attractions in Austin, which is not exactly replete with such sites. If you are looking for something to do in the area and are into politics, it's a decent choice.
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