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“Go During the Week”

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
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Dallas CityPASS
Ranked #3 of 229 things to do in Dallas
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Get an in-depth, interactive look at eight years of presidential history at America's 13th presidential library and museum. Explore important issues and events of the administration of President George W. Bush as framed by four themes: freedom, opportunity, compassion and responsibility. NEW FOR 2016: Step into the candidates' shoes in "PATH TO THE PRESIDENCY," a special exhibit on the history of campaigns and elections in the United States. Extend your visit with a stroll through the 15-acre Native Texas Park, enjoy a meal at Café 43, and take home a piece of the presidency from the Museum Store.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Houston, TX
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Go During the Week”
Reviewed March 4, 2014

The exhibits are worth reading, but the weekend crowds make it difficult. The rotating exhibits on the west side of the building make it worth coming back for. Would like more lectures.

Visited January 2014
Thank FireballHouston_TX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,645 reviews from our community

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Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
545 reviews
318 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
“Ya Gotta Go”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

I loved it - all of it. There was more information available than you can absorb in an afternoon or a day, but it's awesome. If you liked this president, then you'll have a great time. If you didn't come anyway. You might discover you liked more than you though!

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Jane S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake County, Illinois
Level Contributor
153 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Great Museum experience”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

We really enjoyed this museum experience. Very well done but not overwhelming. Can comfortably feel like you have seen/read/listened to everything in less than two hours. Make sure to get your photograph taken by the professional photographer while sitting in the Oval Office! (just ask them to close the curtains behind the desk so the Dallas skyline is not visible in the background). Upon leaving the museum you will have the feeling that President Bush may not have been perfect, but at least he had a plan, was a loyal American, and was attempting to wholeheartedly move the country in the right direction.

Visited February 2014
Thank Larry J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“My first experience of visiting a Presidential museum”
Reviewed March 2, 2014

While in Dallas I figured I should go to this for my first experience of a Presidential library and museum. I am glad I did choose to go through this museum but I'm not sure I would do it again if I retuned. The highlight's for me were the replicated Oval Office where you could get your picture taken behind the desk and the section covering the tragic events of 9/11. I felt the videos and displays for the exhibits were all well done. The admission price was fair and included an audio tour of the museum which was nice. All of the staff I encountered at the museum were very friendly and helpful with and questions one would have. The only real negative thing I would say about the museum is it portrayed George W. Bush as a President that did no wrong or had no flaws during his tenure in office.

Visited February 2014
Thank Jody T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moore, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
335 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 221 helpful votes
“Instant History Lesson”
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Positives: Easy to find, interactive, educational
Negatives: A little pricey, limited parking

We learned about this attraction while driving through Dallas during a family trip, and were really surprised to find a presidential museum had opened in a place just a few hours from home. Unable to visit at that time, we purposed to stop at our earliest possible opportunity.

Several months passed, but we were finally able to spend a half-day touring the facility in January, 2014...and are already planning a return.

Centrally located -

Both Library and Museum are housed in a single building on the campus of Southern Methodist University. It's easy to reach from Central Expressway (U.S. 75); take the Lover's Lane/SMU Boulevard exit and drive west about two blocks. Parking is on the north side of the street, the Library/Museum on the south.

Planning our visit -

We intentionally planned an off-season weekend visit, hoping to avoid vacationers and school tours. My wife and I arrived on a Saturday morning, shortly after 9:00 a.m. (when the doors opened.) As expected, this schedule did provide several benefits:

1) The drive from our hotel was easier than on a weekday.
2) We found plenty of parking in the museum parking lot.
3) There was no line at the security checkpoint.
4) Morning crowds were small.

We also discovered a few drawbacks:

1) Traveling exhibits usually come later in the year.
2) The Library was closed (it's open Monday-Friday).
3) The Rose Garden was dormant.

Red carpet treatment -

From security check-in to the gift shop, and everywhere in between, staff members were exceptionally professional, polite, cheerful, knowledgeable and patient...quite a statement considering many are volunteers! The only thing missing was the "red carpet."

As we moved through different sections, guides shared interpretive insights about exhibits, and made recommendations about other areas to see.

I asked a lot of questions, and every one of them was answered without hesitation. For instance, I inquired why volume one was missing from a particular book collection in the Oval Office, and was informed it was not displayed in the "real" Bush Oval Office, either, because it was too tall for the shelf! (In fact, the last volume was also left out for the same reason.)

Things to see -

Regular exhibits run the gamut from simple personal artifacts to technologically-advanced touch-activated displays. Together, they effectively present Mr. Bush's influence during the turbulent 2000's.

Almost everyone will find an exhibit of interest...probably several. Among the more prominent sections:

1) Examples of gifts given to the President and Mrs. Bush by foreign dignitaries and U.S. citizens. These are contained in wall displays flanking the ticket counters. Gift exhibits are grouped by geographic region: Middle East, Asia, South America, etc. Each item descriptively represents the country or state from which it came.

2) A spectacular 3D-like movie loops continually above the large atrium behind the ticket counter. I'll stop short of saying it's worth the price of admission, but it is certainly a major attraction.

3) An entire section is dedicated to events that occurred on and after September 11, 2001. This exhibit contains an upright beam from "Ground Zero", near a wall that lists all casualties from events of that day. A separate "decision room" challenges visitors to choose a course of action given then-existing information, was very popular. Open seats were hard to find in either exhibit.

4) A replica of the Oval Office as it appeared during Mr. Bush's days as the U.S. chief executive was also extremely popular.

Visitors to this room have an opportunity to sit in the "Presidential chair" at the Presidental desk, and can even have their photo taken for an extra charge. Two purchase options are available: a single print, or a print plus royalty-free digital file that can be downloaded from a secure web site. Although the file costs more we chose that option to be able to legally print multiple copies and share with others online.

The price of admission -

At this writing, non-discounted adult tickets cost $16.00 each. Parking in the dedicated lot is an extra $7.00. Meals are available at the attached cafe', and a gift shop is available. (What museum doesn't have one?)

The Bottom Line -

The name says "library and museum", and that's what this place is at it's heart. But designers made sure to include some "entertainment", too, with enough gee-whiz stuff to make visiting fun for people that don't care for collectibles and displays.

In fairness, though, it must be noted a lot of those collectibles are one-of-a-kind items that can only be seen here.

Most of our visit, we were able to move freely through the museum, interact with technology, and look at exhibits of interest without feeling rushed. Touring did become difficult during mid-day hours when busloads of riders clogged passageways, eager to see what they could in a short amount of time. They came in waves, and usually moved through quickly.

Overall, we thought our visit was worth the nearly $40 spent for admission and parking. We'll check the traveling exhibit schedule before planning another trip to maximize return on our expenditure, and will definitely wait until the Rose Garden is in bloom before going back.

Visited January 2014
Thank The_Real_Birdcatcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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