DALLAS — The Thursday morning dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center was a stately affair, but the evening lighting of Freedom Hall was a downright party. A small crowd of supporters attended the brief evening ceremony, which included fireworks and music by the U.S. Army chorus and country star Jack Ingram, an SMU alum.
Laura and George W. Bush dressed down for the evening. The former first lady sported a knee-length purple party dress, and the former president went tieless for a business casual look.
Freedom Hall, a 67-foot-high limestone structure, is the main entrance to the Bush Center. The University Park facilities are located near SMU's entrance and include a library, museum, presidential archives and public policy institute. It officially opens to the public on May 1.
The first presidential library of the 21st century, the Bush Center holds 200 million emails, 70 million pages of paper records, 4 million digital photographs, 50,000 audio tapes and 43,000 historical artifacts.