Presidential Austin

Austin Travel Blog

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LBJ and Mrs. Johnson with India's prime minister Indira Gandhi

Left this morning for the short drive to the Texas state capital, Austin.  I had my usual miserable bout with whatever it is that is causing the nausea and pain, but I relaxed in the car.  As we drove through the downtown area we could see the Capitol building - it looks like the Capitol in Washington, DC.  We chose a Super 8 motel from the Room Saver coupon booklet and find it very nice indeed.  The room is neat, clean and well decorated, as is the lobby.  The breakfast area is large and bright.

 

As I was feeling unwell and weak, Jag went to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum by himself.

Portrait of Lady Bird Johnson by Hirschfeld
  He doesn’t mind doing things alone, unlike me.  I remained in our room to rest (doctor’s orders anyway).  I watched the movie “Free Willy II”.  It is not the best film I have ever seen, although it was diverting.  The fake orcas, unfortunately, looked like big plastic toys.  After the movie I slept for a couple of hours.  I suppose I must have needed that.

 

Jag enjoyed his adventure at the LBJ Library.  Right off the bat he found a lot of repair work going on which blocked the main entrance.  He walked all around the entire building trying to find a way in.  No luck!  He finally asked  for directions (now that is a first!) and entered the building.  Since flash photography was not permitted, some of his photos did not come out well, but I hope you will enjoy them.

Four floors of archived documents
 

 

Some of the highlights included sculptured busts of LBJ, his wife Lady Bird, John and Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  There was also a framed portrait of Mrs. Johnson by the late, great caricaturist Hirschfeld.  One of my dreams from childhood was to have this amazing artist do a portrait of me.  Alas, I was not famous enough to receive that honor. 

 

The first two floors are actually underground and are service areas.  That is where all of the construction is going on.  The third floor has the main lobby, and an Orientation Theater that shows films about LBJ.  One floor up are portraits of all of the presidents and their wives, from the Washingtons to the Clintons.

Animatronic figure of LBJ
  One thing Jag got a kick out of is an animatronic figure of the former president telling stories of his life.  There was also a special exhibition of items relating to the Space Race, something Johnson was deeply involved with.  We had seen most of these items at Cape Canaveral and Houston.  In addition, an exhibit concerning the Viet Nam War was there - it was not brushed off despite the problems involved.   The fifth through ninth floors contain the archives themselves.  This reminded him of the stacks of documents at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The tenth floor has a replica of the Oval Office as it was during LBJ’s tenure.  There is also an exhibit on Lady Bird Johnson’s contributions to, especially, environmental issues.

 

There is a lot to see.  How does this library compare to those of other presidents?  Jag said it is very massive - the building reminds him of the fact that Texas is BIG and LBJ certainly was a very large figure in American history.  It does not have the beauty of the Kennedy Library in Boston.  It does not have the modernity of the Clinton Library in Little Rock.  However it does reflect the personality of the man.

 

 

 

 

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LBJ and Mrs. Johnson with Indias …
LBJ and Mrs. Johnson with India's…
Portrait of Lady Bird Johnson by H…
Portrait of Lady Bird Johnson by …
Four floors of archived documents
Four floors of archived documents
Animatronic figure of LBJ
Animatronic figure of LBJ
Replica of the Oval Office
Replica of the Oval Office
A different view of the Oval Office
A different view of the Oval Office
Bronze bust of LBJ by Robert Berks
Bronze bust of LBJ by Robert Berks
Bronze of Lady Bird Johnson
Bronze of Lady Bird Johnson
Bobby Kennedy
Bobby Kennedy
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sculpt…
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sculp…
Bronze of John F. Kennedy
Bronze of John F. Kennedy
The Lyndon B. Johnson Library and …
The Lyndon B. Johnson Library and…
Austin
photo by: cabotono