LBJ Library opens new exhibits after multi-million dollar renovation

In honor of Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday on December 22, 2012, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library unveiled a newly redesigned space to give visitors a new look at the 36th president. The library houses 45 million pages of historical documents, 650,000 photos, one million feet of film, 2,000 oral histories, and 5,000 hours of recordings from the public career of Lyndon Johnson and his close associates.

Following a massive year-long renovation, new exhibits have been installed on the three public floors of the library. Renovations were funded by private donations through the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation.

“Renovations at Presidential Libraries allow us to keep our exhibits relevant and through technology, tell the history of our country in new, dynamic ways,” said Susan Donius, Director of the Office of the Presidential Libraries. “Through these exhibits and dynamic education programs, we are able to reach new generations of visitors.”

The new exhibits also make the political and personal lives of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson come alive for visitors. The newly redesigned Library experience includes:

  • A downloadable app and handheld guide which give visitors the choice of several different tours, including a tour in Spanish
  • Unprecedented access to private telephone conversations of the President
  • An interactive Vietnam War exhibit where visitors experience elements of the President’s decision-making process
  • The ability to join the conversation through social media as visitors tour exhibits
  • An interactive look at how legislation passed under President Johnson affects visitors today
  • New theaters and films on President Johnson, his legacy, civil rights, and the First Family

Gallagher and Associates of Washington, DC, was commissioned to design and oversee construction. The company has completed many award-winning projects, including redesigns of the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter Presidential Libraries.

“The redesign is an exciting new chapter in the history of the LBJ Library as a dynamic, forward-thinking organization,” said Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation. “President Johnson wanted the Library to use the best technology available, giving visitors a comprehensive, engaging experience. The Board strongly believes he and Mrs. Johnson would approve this decision.”

Exterior of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. Photo by Charles Bogel.

For the first time in its 41-year history, the Johnson Library will be charging admission in order to support the new exhibits. Until now, it was the only one of the 13 Presidential libraries that didn’t have an admission fee. The Library reports that the decision was made after thoughtful consideration by the LBJ Foundation Board and has the support of the Johnson family.

“Our goal is for visitors to better understand this largely misunderstood president,” added Mark K. Updegrove, LBJ Library Director. “The redesigned Library will provide meaningful context to the vast and sweeping legislation passed during the Johnson Administration and visitors will learn how those laws impact us today. Exhibits will explore all aspects of Johnson’s presidency, including the Vietnam War. President Johnson insisted that the LBJ Library present an unvarnished look at his Presidency–the triumphs and the turmoil. Now we share this story with new generations.”

Learn more about the new exhibits and upcoming events at

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