Only In Austin: The LBJ Presidential Library

Opened in May 1971, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library is a repository and exhibition of documents, photographs, audio recordings, and personal artifacts from one of the most interesting presidencies in our nation’s history. Located on the University of Texas campus, the LBJ Library is a fascinating destination for locals and visitors alike—more than 100,000 people pass through its doors each year.

Between the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and the counterculture movement of the 1960s, the library gives both a snapshot of Johnson’s presidency and the context necessary to understand its importance.

Of the more than 45,000 personal objects donated by the Johnson family, visitors can view clothing worn by the president and first lady at the 1964 inauguration, antiques and visual art masterworks owned by the family and their friends, and the desk where LBJ was sitting when he signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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Several permanent exhibits opened on what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday in December 2012, including a 7/8 scale recreation of Johnson’s Oval Office, the Johnson Presidential Limousine, and an entire exhibit dedicated to the assassination of JFK on November 22, 2963.

Current temporary exhibits include Hats Off to LBJ!, an in-depth look at the headware worn and given to the First Family and the public museum debut of the letter of condolence LBJ wrote to Martin Luther King’s widow Coretta Scott King in April of 1968 after the Civil Rights leader was assassinated.

The LBJ Library also serves as an events space for symposiums , lectures, and interviews featuring guests like MLB Hall of Famer Hank Aaron and Bob Woodward, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal as an investigative journalist at the Washington Post.

Above, from top: LBJ Library photo by Charles Bogel; LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton