The Bush Library at SMU: A Step Back Into History

On the outskirts of the Southern Methodist University (SMU) campus stands the President George W. Bush Library. If you’re visiting SMU, or any of the area colleges in Dallas, Texas, consider adding this to your itinerary. It’s like taking a step back into history and the library reminds everyone who visits the valuable freedom we have in this country.

In 2009, the President and his wife returned to Dallas, the home of his Presidential Library. It’s not just a museum, it’s an archival library where over 70 million pages of textual Presidential materials are housed. For the purposes of public viewing the library is a historical account of his Presidency.

Bush Library

A view of the Bush Library Freedom Hall

Upon entering the foyer of the library, you are greeted with Freedom Hall, a moving 360-degree high definition video presentation that spans all four ceiling walls based around the freedoms we hold, the people that make this country what it is, and past Presidents. It’s breathtaking.

Bush Library

The metal structure from the World Trade Center Tower

The first room you enter you’re greeted by a huge piece of metal from the World Trade Center. On the opposite wall is the list of names of everyone who died on September 11th. The news reports scroll on multiple televisions. You relive every moment of that day and the days to follow. You can also view world reactions from foreign leaders, average citizens and children. To see how this tragedy affected us at home and around the world was awe-inspiring.

Bush Library

The replica of the Oval Office

While a large portion of the library is committed to September 11th, there are also other memorable aspects of his Presidency. You can view the inauguration gowns that Mrs. Bush wore; take a stroll through a replica of the oval office and step out into the rose garden. There is a baseball exhibit (President Bush used to be part owner of the Texas Rangers), and a mock critical situation room where you are given pertinent facts and asked to decide whether or not military action is mandated.

Bush Library

Self portrait by President George W. Bush and a portrait of his father, President George H. W. Bush

There are also alternating exhibits as well. When I visited, the portraits that President Bush painted after leaving office were on display. These portraits of foreign leaders were also accompanied by short explanations of how he painted them and how he envisioned them as he painted.

A visit to the Bush Library would not be complete without stopping by the gift shop on your way out or visiting the Presidential Center’s Cafe 43, a full service restaurant with a seasonal menu.

For more photos and video of the Bush Library, you can visit this link:


SCV airplaneCheck out SMU’s profile page here on Smart College Visit: plan your visit, find out which hotels are near campus, book flights, discover nearby restaurants and learn more about SMU! To discover other exciting things to do before or after your campus tour, Visit Dallas provides a wealth of information and a guide for visitors.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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