President George W. Bush’s presidential library, built on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, will host its invitation-only dedication Thursday. Former presidents have long donated their records and documents to libraries built to chronicle their presidencies and serve as resources for the public.
All presidential libraries since Herbert Hoover's administration are managed by the federal government.
Bush’s library occupies 226,000 square feet on the campus, five miles north of downtown Dallas. Thursday’s ceremony marks the culmination of years of work by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and effort to raise $250 million in funding.
Christopher Hawthorne, The Times’ architecture critic, described Bush’s library as fittingly blunt in his early review.
“The building, like the Bush presidency, is about firmness, being resolute, even at the expense of nuance,” Hawthorne said.
Bush’s approval ratings have been on the rise since his departure from office, with a Washington Post-ABC poll finding that 47% now approve of him, compared with just 33% in 2009.
Bush’s dedication ceremony will be attended by the three other living former presidents, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, along with President Obama. The library will open to the public May 1.
See how much you know about presidential libraries and their history below. Which president started the tradition? And who brought up Watergate at the dedication of Richard Nixon’s library?