Austin | Dallas | Houston
Presidential Sneak Peek

New George W. Bush Presidential Center includes replica of Oval Office, Situation Room & 9/11 exhibit

Enlarge
Slideshow
Bush Presidential Center
Statues of George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, welcome visitors to the museum. Photo by Jerry McClure
George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
The George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU opens to the public May 1. Photo by Peter Aaron
Laura Bush and Alan Lowe at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Former First Lady Laura Bush addresses the media during a guided tour April 24 with Alan Lowe, director of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Photo by Jerry McClure
Bush Presidential Center
A replica of the Oval Office at the new George W. Bush Presidential Center. Photo by Jerry McClure
Interactive exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Interactive portions educate visitors on a variety of topics. Photo by Jerry McClure
No Child Left Behind exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
No Child Left Behind was a staple of the Bush presidency's education policy. Photo by Jerry McClure
African jewelry at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
African nations donated jewelry to be displayed at the center. Photo by Jerry McClure
9/11 exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
International issues take center stage at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU.  Photo by Jerry McClure
Campaign memorabilia at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Memorabilia from Bush's campaign. Photo by Jerry McClure
Bush Presidential Center
Laura Bush told reporters that donating her lavish gowns was any easy choice because her husband isn't a big fan of black tie events. Photo by Jerry McClure
Quote at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Bush quotes such as this one are found throughout the center. Photo by Jerry McClure
Officials at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Brad Cheves, SMU vice president of development and external affairs; David Langdale, president of Bush Foundation board of directors; and SMU's Gail and Gerald Turner pose in front of George W. Bush's new official portrait. Photo by Jerry McClure
9/11 exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
The events of 9/11 play a large role in the museum, including this structural beam from the twin towers. Photo by Jerry McClure
Freedom Hall at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Huge video screens welcome visitors as they enter the museum's Freedom Hall. Photo by Jerry McClure
George W. Bush and Tony Blair in Mark Balma's portrait The Ties That Bind
George W. Bush's official portrait portrays him with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Photo courtesy of Mark Balma
Bush Presidential Center
George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Laura Bush and Alan Lowe at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Bush Presidential Center
Interactive exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
No Child Left Behind exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
African jewelry at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
9/11 exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Campaign memorabilia at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Bush Presidential Center
Quote at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Officials at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
9/11 exhibit at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
Freedom Hall at George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas
George W. Bush and Tony Blair in Mark Balma's portrait The Ties That Bind

DALLAS — The George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU opens to the public May 1, but those wishing to get a sneak peek of the 43rd presidential library needn't wait. The property has already been toured by the media, and the center will live-stream today's dedication, which will be attended by five living presidents, including Barack Obama.

The center encompasses more than 225,000 square feet and is surrounded by a 15-acre nature park replete with prairie landscaping and a wildflower meadow. 

 "George did not want this to be a monument to himself," said First Lady Laura Bush.

Former First Lady Laura Bush made a surprise appearance at the media preview of the center on Wednesday. She briefly spoke to reporters in the Rose Garden, which was modeled after the one at the White House.

"I hope people really learn and re-learn the history of the first decade of our new century," she said. "I think people will be very moved by the 9/11 exhibit, and I think that's important because we still, obviously, live with the effects of 9/11." 

The University Park facilities are located near SMU's entrance and include a library, museum, presidential archives and public policy institute. In addition to the Oval Office replica, the center boasts the actual Bush White House "Situation Room," which was reconstructed piece-by-piece for the museum. The room is set up to connect Texas schoolchildren with students in California at the Ronald Regan Presidential Library.

Although it bears his name, Laura Bush said that her husband didn't want the center to just be about him. "George did not want this to be a monument to himself," she said. "He said that from the very beginning."

Bush's official portrait for the center is at least one example of sharing the spotlight. He appears alongside former British prime minister Tony Blair in the 7-by-9-foot oil painting.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address