At Camp David last summer, Laura Bush met with directors of other presidential libraries. She asked for their advice, part of the advance planning for George W. Bush's library and public policy center at SMU. Here, in interviews later with The Dallas Morning News, are some of the highlights:
Jay Hakes, director of Jimmy Carter's library in Atlanta: Try to develop strong public programs and be family-friendly. "It's a tendency of museums to have the highest attendance in their first few years, and then it tapers off."
R. Duke Blackwood, who oversees Ronald Reagan's library in California: Plan ahead for the future but strike a balance with technology. "Some new museums have very interactive stuff, which is great. But if you overload the visitor with too much, you may have less of an effect."
Betty Sue Flowers, who is retiring as director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin: Build it with as much flexibility as possible, and keep the community in mind. The LBJ library planners, she said, "weren't thinking ahead of a living, breathing institution, and that's what these libraries are. It's not a mausoleum for a president"