While summer slams attendance on businesses, the LBJ library enjoys a surplus of visitors
By Alonso Reyna
As the campus slows down and students leave for summer break, the Lyndon B. Johnson Museum, which contains an archive library, is still buzzing with activity.
“Visitors stay strong all year long,” said Cheryl Taylor, a volunteer who has been working at the museum’s front-end for the past three years. She said visitors go up in the summer especially during national holidays since admission is free and people are visiting during vacation.
The library does suffer from low student attendance, although it’s located on campus.
“A lot of UT students come here to do research, mostly during the school calendar,” Taylor said. The School of Public Affairs is adjacent to the library, so some of the school students take advantage of the archives found on levels five through nine. Taylor said that the library receives students from all over the world and that scholar visitors stay constant through the year.
The library’s visitors consist of mainly tourists who admire President Johnson or have an interest in presidential history. Taylor said that since the renovation completion in 2012, the library receives from 90,000 to 100,000 visitors yearly. She added that the hours and schedule contribute to the high number of visitors.
The library, which is a federal building, is open every day of the week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., even on national holidays, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Three floors are open to the general public in form of museum: the first, second and tenth floor.
As visitors reach the highest floor, they are taken back to the 1960’s to a room with two medium-size wall hangings on each side. One hanging is a picture of Andrew Jackson and the other is George Washington. The room is a replica of President Johnson’s Oval Office that contains pastel colors, a green carpet, sofas and three TV units.
Not only can visitors see the Oval Office, but also Lady Bird Johnson’s office, filled with files on the white carpeted floor, family pictures, original furnishings and decorations.
Walking through the exhibitions illuminated by the bright soft-yellow lighting, a young man was reading some of the documents written by President Johnson. Jack Horton, a first-time visitor from New Jersey, who was on a road trip to Seattle, said that he visited the museum during the summer because he admired LBJ.
“I aligned with LBJ’s policies very well,” Horton said.
On the museum’s 10th floor, another visitor was spotted observing Presidents Johnson’s oval office replica. Christine Evans, a public school teacher from San Antonio, decided to visit the museum.
“I enjoy learning about presidential history,” Evans said, “especially when I have free time during summer.”
While greeting a customer, Taylor who had a big smile, leaned forward, and exclaimed that she loved working at the museum.
“I have met some of the most interesting people,” Taylor said, “it’s my favorite place to be!”