George W. Bush Presidential Center Announced
There are three components to the Center; an archive, a museum, and a public policy institute that will be designed to promote the goals and values of his presidency.
The archive will include the documents and records of Mr. Bush's time in office, and will house "four million photos; thousands of boxes of documents; and hundreds of millions of e-mails," according to the former president, who said he is using the materials to be housed there for his forthcoming memoir.
The museum, he said, will tell the story of the Bush presidency "through my most consequential decisions." (His memoir, which is planned to come out next fall, will have a similar format.) "Visitors will see the bullhorn I used in my first visit to Ground Zero, a replica of my Oval Office, and our very own 'Texas Rose Garden,'" he said.
The policy institute, which will be called the George W. Bush Institute, will be "a vibrant hub of principled thought and practical action," the former president said.
He said the institute will follow his principles, which include the idea that "free markets open the path to opportunity, that a successful society requires personal responsibility, that freedom is universal and transformative, and that every human life has dignity and value."
The four initial areas of focus, he said, will be education, global health, human freedom and economic growth.
Also present at the speech was former first lady Laura Bush, who discussed the institute's planned women’s initiative. She spoke of the experiences of women in Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere in the world.
Mr. and Mrs. Bush's daughter Jenna was in the audience to see her parents speak. The fact that she is now a correspondent for NBC's "Today Show" prompted the former president to quip that she is "continuing the Bush family tradition of warm relations with the media."
The president said ground will be broken on the center in a year, though programming for the institute will begin in the spring. At the end of his remarks, he made an appeal for donations to fund the construction and the center.
Sources tell the New York Times that the Bush foundation has thus far raised $212 million in pledges and contribution. Its goal by the groundbreaking is $300 million.
Former first lady Laura Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Bush's daughter, Jenna Bush, were also present at the speech. Mrs. Bush discussed the planned women initiative, speaking of the experiences of women in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere in the world.
If you missed the live webcast on November 12th, you may view the video here.