LBJ Library, Austin
|Johnson was a famous "close talker"
|There is some construction underway on the adjacent plaza
The LBJ Presidential Library is a must-see stop for anyone interested in American history. The library uses a wide range of media to present the goals of the Johnson administration and the long-lasting legacy of his accomplishments. The focus is on the many civil rights, education and poverty-reducing programs that Johnson began, such as Medicare and HeadStart. The Johnson legacy also includes national parks and an investment in the space program. Johnson is an interesting character who often used his skills as a politician to get what he wanted. He could also be a bully and was famous for aggressively leaning in when trying to make a point. It was called "the Johnson treatment". Although the Vietnam War is certainly presented, it isn't a major focus.
The library includes film presentations, memorabilia, photos and many items that present the culture of the time. There is a film clip of "Mister Ed", a TV show about a talking horse. Everybody who walked by watched and laughed. There are movie posters, record covers, fashion of the times, music and more. It is a fun place for older parents and grandparents to share how things were, back in the day. There is an almost full-size copy of the Oval Office that is an impressive and interesting display.
There is also much space devoted to the legacy of "Lady Bird" Johnson, who was one of the great First Ladies. There are exhibits highlighting her commitment to environmentalism and the preservation of the natural beauty of the U.S.
The bottom level has the restrooms, but also a fun exhibit of political cartoons of the day, so a trip downstairs is worth the time.
The Library is on the campus of UT Austin. There is a large, dedicated parking lot. From the lot, walk past the Johnson School of Government building. There are no facilities for food. There are only beautiful old oak trees nearby and a fine view of the campus from the library.