Skip to comments.The search for a home for Mr Obama’s library and museum has begun
Posted on 03/27/2014 10:26:20 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
AT THEIR best, they are lively classrooms of democracy, says Richard Norton Smith, a historian who specialises in presidential libraries. They are also something of a misnomer. People who wander in expecting to borrow The Cat in the Hat tend to find instead a museum, a replica of the Oval Office and many floors of documents.
Last week the Barack Obama Foundation invited applications from institutions interested in giving room to the 14th presidential library. Marty Nesbitt, a member of the foundation board and a friend of the Obamas, says a shortlist of sites will be presented to Mr and Mrs Obama early next year. The foundation wants to create an institution that reflects the commander-in-chiefs values and priorities, as well as serving as a force for good in the surrounding community.
Columbia University in New York, the presidents alma mater, is preparing a bid. So too is his birth state of Hawaii. But Chicago, with its strong Obama ties, is assumed to be the front-runner. Mr Obama worked as a community organiser in the South Side, represented the area as a state senator, and was on the faculty of the University of Chicago for 12 years. A number of institutions are vying to make a bid in Chicago, well aware that presidential libraries can spur the local economy. Susan Sher, a former chief of staff to Michelle Obama who is co-ordinating the University of Chicagos bid, says a number of sites in the South Side, including Bronzeville, are being considered.
The money needed to build the librarypossibly about $500mwill be raised by the foundation. This will include an endowment to cover some of the maintenance costs. The rest will come from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) which is charged with running all the presidential libraries at an annual cost of $70m.
Last year a mere 10,600 scholars used the libraries. By contrast 730,000 people attended public and educational programmes there, and 2.4m people visited the associated museums (see chart). Ronald Reagans library in Simi, California was the most visited in 2013, with some 425,000 trooping in to see, among other things, his Air Force One. Online visits are more numerous and growing rapidly. Every library seems to be bigger than the last, but then records and artefacts are accumulating at an ever-faster clip. Herbert Hoovers library stores 500 gifts; Dwight Eisenhowers, 25,000; that of Bill Clinton (a man of appetites), more than 150,000.
Since presidents usually live for decades after they leave office, the library becomes a tool for definingcynics would say, polishingtheir legacy. But they also try to continue the work of a president. The Obama Foundation hopes his library will be the most connected, interactive presidential library in history. Until the next even-more-wired president, that is.
In the long term, the libraries are most useful for the access they offer to presidential documents, which tell the true story of the man and his times. But it seems that attention to the flashier, exhibition side of things is detracting from NARAs real work: making documents available for public release. Fully 40% of NARAs text holdings have not been processed. And they have plenty to reveal. Eisenhower, for examplesays Mr Smithwas widely known in his time as a genial duffer. When the papers in his library were examined he was seen as far more sophisticated, even ruthless: Behind the smile was guile.
The lower floor of a Chicago brothel would be most appropriate.
On Thursday night they serve a wicked pepper steak.
As you enter the Obama library, the first display you will see will be an empty suit.
A 2 hole outhouse, one for obama and one for mooshell.
Isn’t he still a paid-in-full member of Man’s Country?
Kenya sounds good. There must be some space under an outhouse over there, that could be donated.
Obviously either Kenya or Saudi Arabia....
Got to be Kenya.
If it’s still standing, the Darling and Company building on 42nd and Ashland in Chicago would make a good site for it - its olfactory properties would be a great fit to the BO legacy.
I have a suggestion....
The South Indian Ocean.
It will be built completely through Chinese donations.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.