Monday, July 04, 2005

Presidential Libraries

I've always been fascinated by presidential history and when I started library school, I was able to combine my interests into a desire to visit and learn more about Presidential Libraries and Museums. I've had the pleasure of visiting five so far: the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa (April 2002), the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri (June 2002), the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas (June 2002), the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan (September 2003) and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts (January 2005).

Two items to note. Gerald R. Ford's Presidential Museum is located in Grand Rapids, while his Library is located in Ann Arbor. Despite this, the library and museum are considered one institution and are headed by a single director.

Secondly, when someone says they have visited a Presidential Library, it is more likely that they have actually visited a Presidential Museum. Presidential Libraries are generally not open to the public, rather one needs to have a stated purpose in wanting to use the library and its collections.

After this slightly long rambling, the purpose of my post is to thank ResourceShelf for pointing out an article in the Summer 2005 issue of Prologue, a publication of the National Archives and Records Administration, which revisits the history of what eventually led to the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955.


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