The George W. Bush Presidential Center opened its doors on the Southern Methodist University campus on May 1, 2013. In the decade since, nearly 2 million visitors from all over the world have come to explore it. To mark its 10th anniversary, the center is offering free admission to the Presidential Museum—and SMU is doing its own celebration of 10 years of impact in hosting the center.
Free admission week to the center’s museum starts Saturday
To mark the anniversary, the center’s George W. Bush Presidential Museum is offering a week of free reserved admission to the public beginning Saturday, April 29, through Thursday, May 4. The free admission is courtesy of Sewell Automotive Companies, SMU said.
Visitors will be able to peruse the museum’s permanent exhibit, which offers an exhibit on September 11, 2001, a replica Oval Office, and an interactive experience in presidential decision-making through the Decision Points Theater. Also on display this week is the special exhibit, Freedom Matters, featuring rare historical artifacts including a 14th-century copy of the Magna Carta and rare versions of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights.
You can reserve free tickets and get more info by going here.
A museum, an institute, and a presidential library
Besides the museum, the center is also the home of the George W. Bush Institute, a solution-oriented policy organization, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library, operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, which provides access to official documents and artifacts from the Bush Administration.
It’s all encompassed within the SMU campus, a source of pride both to the university and its president, R. Gerald Turner.
SMU ‘spent years’ securing and planning for the center
“I’m proud that the George W. Bush Presidential Center has become a tremendous asset to SMU, North Texas, and our nation,” Turner said in a statement. “We spent years securing and then planning for this great resource. The presidential museum and library, alone, would have been well worth it. But the intellectual capital generated by the Bush Institute through policy analysis and the impact on our students has been remarkable.”
SMU and the Bush Institute remain as actively involved in projects as they are in geographic proximity.
Both engage in wide-ranging academic partnerships that offer SMU students and faculty “unique opportunities to work alongside global experts on solutions to some of the most pressing international and domestic challenges,” the university said.
Nearly 1,000 people have participated in the Bush Institute’s leadership programming, supported by SMU faculty members who have helped develop curriculum and lead sessions. Niemi Fellows from SMU’s Cox School of Business create research projects with the Bush Institute, and NexPoint Tower Scholars, who study public policy and international affairs, have the opportunity to intern at the Bush Institute, SMU noted.
Economic growth initiative
In one example of how the institutions work together, the George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative “promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, and faster, more inclusive growth through global competitiveness and sound immigration policy.” SMU said.
Faculty from the Simmons School of Education and Human Development have also collaborated with the Bush Institute on improving global health.
The Bush Center said it appreciates the collaboration.
“We’re so grateful for the phenomenal support that we’ve received from SMU, the community, and local leaders as we strive to promote President and Mrs. Bush’s values of freedom, opportunity, accountability, and compassion,” Bush Center President and CEO Ken Hersh said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to continue this great work for the decades to come and honored to be part of SMU’s vibrant community.”
Relive the 2013 opening by going here
A lot’s changed in 10 years, to say the least. But if you want a blast from the past, you can see a video of the April 26, 2013 dedication ceremony—featuring all five presidents living at the time of the event—by going here.
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