In 2005, I visited the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. I was amazed by how it captured the fascinating story of Franklin D. Roosevelt and our nation during tumultuous days. And learning the history of that library and museum, the first of its kind under the National Archives system, inspired me to see the others.
Since that first experience, it's been my goal to travel around the country and visit every single presidential library. At every stop along this journey, I've learned something new about our system of government and the civil servants that make it all possible. Presidential libraries and museums promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience. They preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire. As President Roosevelt said at the opening of his library on June 30, 1941:
"The dedication of a library is in itself an act of faith. To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future."
If you want to learn more about presidential libraries, I recently gave a talk about them entitled "Love Letters to Presidents". You can view the presentation here and listen to the audio here. Franklin TV also captured the video and will be replaying it on our local cable channels.
I'm also happy to inform you that on September 2, 2021, I reached my goal of visiting every presidential library with a trip to the Gerald Ford Museum, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I even received a crystal Presidential Seal upon completing my trip!
I hope that you get to visit and enjoy these institutions of history as much as I have. And if you decide to take on this goal, I'd love to hear about it.
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