President Barack Obama, along with former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were introduced at the dedication of the place that will serve as home for the historical material of the presidency of George W. Bush.
Mark Jones teaches political science at Rice University.
“It’s both a place to archive your records and many mementos from your era, but it’s also an opportunity for presidents to shape how their presidency is viewed by the public, both now as well as going into the future.”
Jones says George W. Bush’s tenure was one of the most difficult for any man that occupied the White House.
“He faced challenges ranging from 9-11, to Katrina, to the start of the 2007-2008 recession, which is the worst that we’ve seen since the Great Depression. And I think as we look back at his presidential administration, as we move in the future, people are going to see it in a more positive light.”
President Bush will be remembered partly for the Iraq War and the issue of the lack of weapons of mass destruction.
Jones says curators will try to educate museum visitors and place it within a different context, like:
“If you thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, what would you have done? If you were faced with the economic crisis such as in 2007 and 2008, what would you have done given the context and the pressures at the time?”
Jones says for the next generation patrons will see a library that reflects George W. Bush, his family and his advisor’s view of the world.
It opens to the general public on May 1st.